As most Austen fans know, Jane Austen’s dear friend, Martha Lloyd shared a home with Jane, Cassandra, and Mrs. Austen and, after Jane’s death, married her brother, Francis Austen. Martha must have been a special lady, and because of her time spent with the Austen ladies, we have an enduring record of many of their favorite meals. Martha, like many other women of the time, kept a “household” book, full of favorite recipes, both her own, and ‘borrowed’ from friends. This book, a simple blank notebook at first, has become a permanent record of the tasty trifles enjoyed by Jane and her family, along with fleshing out foods mentioned in her novels and letters.
Martha’s careful collection of everything from Pease Soup to Bootblacking provides the fan and cook alike with rare insights into the Austen family’s personal lives. The original book is held at Chawton House by the Jane Austen Memorial Trust.
Why not consider adapting your own family’s favorite recipes into a keepsake book of your own? One Christmas I was fortunate enough to receive just such a book from my sister-in-law. It is not only the precious repose of “secret” family recipes but also the keeper of memories, as each page reminds us of Christmases, Birthdays and other celebrations from days gone by.
For my own daughters, I have started a cookbook apiece, customized with whatever recipes they would like to take with them to their own homes one day. The recipes vary by child and include everything from kid friendly Mac & Cheese to Rice Krispie Treats, Brownies and “Daddy’s BBQ Pork”. It has become a family joke that new recipes are rated on whether or not they would want them “served at their wedding”. Winners get lined up for inclusion in the book (along with the date added).
A purpose built book is not necessary, however, as any blank book or even recipe card box will do, but while you are at it, why not make it something special with drawings, photographs or memories associated with each entry?
Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austenation: Regency Accessories, creating custom hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends is her first book. Her greatest joy is the time she is able to spend in her home with her family (1 amazing husband, 4 adorable children and a very strange dog.)
This week, I helped a friend prepare for her Daughter-in-law-to-be’s bridal tea. The young lady’s favorite novel is (what else?) Pride and Prejudice, and my friend has taken that as the theme for the day. Inspired by Dody William’s gorgeous designs on Etsy, we arranged a few of the Bride’s favorite quotes along with some fashion plates I had in my collection.
I have included a printable PDF file of the bookmarks here. Click on the link to open the page in your browser, then save it to your computer.
Once the sheets were printed, we laminated them using 3ml Thermal laminating paper. If you don’t have access to a laminator, this can be done at most office supply big box stores, like Staples, or you can skip this step. Alternately, you can use a clear sticky paper, such as contact paper or even clear packing tape, carefully applied.
The bookmarks were then cut apart, punched with a hole at the top and threaded with a tassel. Ribbons, bows and other trims can also be added, creating a one of a kind, 3-dimensional work of art. If you don’t have a tassel, this tutorial will show you how to make one.
Laura Boyle is the author of Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends. Through her shop Austentation: Regency Accessories, she offers a large range of custom made hats, bonnets, reticules and Jane Austen related items.
Jane Austen Cover to Cover
I was recently asked to review Margaret C. Sullivan’s latest book, Jane Austen Cover to Cover, and I was only too happy to! I had heard about this upcoming book and I was very much looking forward to it and already had it on my wish list!
“In the short forty-two years of her life, Jane Austen wrote six novels that would endure long after her death in 1817. The texts are true classics, unchanged and yet still immensely popular some 200 years later, but the covers have changed with the times-from the elegant inscriptions of the famous Peacock cover, to pulpy sixties pop art, to graphic novels, Twilight-inspired copycat covers, and mystifyingly bad digital editions. With over 200 images of covers spanning as many years of Austen books, this fascinating, funny, and art-filled book is a must for Janeites, design geeks, and book lovers of every stripe.”
I always knew that there were lots of different covers and editions of Jane Austen’s novels – I own quite a few versions myself! – but I didn’t realise how many there really were!
This book was absolutely fascinating to look through and spot the ones I own, how many I don’t – and seeing how many editions I want to own! There is an unbelievable amount, many more than I ever imagined, some I recognised but others that were completely new to me! It really was amazing to see the wide range of publications and their interpretations of the books for the covers. There was everything ranging from beautifully simple to really quite funny and a little scary!
Continue reading Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan, a review