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New Release: The Marriage Obligation

Admiral Cornelius Hardcastle met his future wife Léonie at the Siege of Toulon. Their daughter Cornelia is the heroine of The Marriage Obligation.

The fictional character of Admiral Hardcastle is based on Admiral Sir Benjamin Hallowell Carew, whose ship, the HMS Leviathan, took part in the evacuation of allied troops and royalist civilians being persuaded by the Republican army.

Siège_de_Toulon

The Siege of Toulon

The Siege of Toulon (29 August – 19 December 1793) was a military operation by Republican forces against a Royalist rebellion in the southern French city of Toulon.

After a series of insurrections against the Republicans within the French cities of Lyon, Avignon, Nîmes, and Marseille, Republicans managed to recapture Marseille and punish them with severe reprisals. Upon hearing this, Toulon, which was currently in the hands of Royalist forces, called for aid from the Anglo-Spanish fleet.  On 28 August, Admiral Sir Samuel Hood of the Royal Navy and Admiral Juan de Lángara of the Spanish Navy, committed a force of 13,000 British, Spanish, Neapolitan and Piedmontese troops to the French Royalists’ cause. This was a serious blow to the Republicans, since Toulon had a key naval arsenal and was the base for 26 ships (about a third of the French navy). On 1 October, Baron d’Imbert proclaimed the young Louis XVII to be king of France, and hoisted the French Royalist flag of the fleur de lys, delivering the town of Toulon to the British navy.

Les_coalises_evacuent_Toulon_en_decembre_1793

By 16 December, however, the Republicans (among them a young Bonaparte), managed to push past the Allied troops toward the waterfront. At that point, Lángara gave the order to destroy the French ships. While that was going on, Hood had ordered HMS Robust under Captain George Elphinstone and HMS Leviathan under Captain Benjamin Hallowell Carew to evacuate the allied troops from the waterfront. In addition to the soldiery, the British squadron and their boats took on board thousands of French Royalist refugees, who had flocked to the waterfront when it became clear that the city would fall to the Republicans. Robust, the last to leave, carried more than 3,000 civilians from the harbour and another 4,000 were recorded on board Princess Royal out in the roads. In total the British fleet rescued 14,877 Toulonnais from the city; witnesses on board the retreating ships reported scenes of panic on the waterfront as stampeding civilians were crushed or drowned in their haste to escape the advancing Republican soldiers, who fired indiscriminately into the fleeing populace.

Wikipedia

Author’s Note: I’ve advanced Cornelia’s age five years for the purpose of this story. An author’s prerogative!

About The Marriage Obligation

Cornelia Hardcastle has been determined never to marry since she was eighteen and discovered an ugly family secret. Now that she’s twenty-four, however, her parents want to see her settled so they can move to Canada for her father’s prestigious new government post. Not a chance!

The second son of a viscount, Preston Warrington is more than happy to leave the viscount business to his brother so he can travel the world in search of adventure. His recent stint as a spy for the British in the War with the French has come to an end, and he’s getting pressured to marry and settle down. Hell no!

How could the notorious Marriage Maker from Inverness all the way in Scotland possibly know that these two marriage-averse individuals are perfect for each other?

Excerpt

Note: At this point in the story, Cornelia has confessed her terrible secret to Preston, her husband-in-name-only.

He took her hand and led her back to the folly. “There, you got it out. That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

She tilted her head to look at him. “You’re not—shocked? Disgusted?”

He squeezed her hand and looked directly into her eyes. “Surprised, yes, certainly. Disgusted? I don’t quite understand your meaning, Cornelia.” His eyes widened. “Unless you are thinking—surely not—that I should be disgusted by you!”

She burst into tears. He pulled her trembling body into his arms and held her against him until her body quieted and the tears slowed, eventually turning into occasional hiccups. When she raised her head from his chest, he handed her his handkerchief. “Shall we sit down? When you are ready, you can tell me what it is that has you so distressed.”

Dabbing at her eyes, she nodded and allowed him to guide her back to the stone seat. 

“I must look a mess,” she said finally, in a shaky voice.

“You look beautiful,” he said, his hand making gentle circles on the surface of her back.

She made a face. “Liar. I’ve seen my face in this condition before. Red eyes, splotchy cheeks, shiny nose. Definitely not a good look for me.”

In response, he reached over and turned her face toward his before capturing her lips with his for a tender kiss. Her sweet response tempted him to deepen it into something more passionate, but he sensed she was not ready for that and reined in his desire.

“Do you still believe I was lying, my dear?” he said as their kiss ended.

She swallowed. “Perhaps you were just being kind.”

Well, then. If she did indeed need more convincing, he would be more than pleased to deliver it.

He took her face in his hands again and kissed her again, this time with more pressure, then pulling away slightly to tease her lips with his tongue, before probing between them with his tongue. Her eyes widened with surprise, but far from protesting, she pressed closer to him, her arms floating to his shoulders. She smelled of violets and tasted like a combination of innocence and passion. His hands drifted to her hair, where his gentle caresses caught on pins and sent dark locks spilling down her back. When her eyes widened, he took her lips again, this time plunging his tongue between her teeth and coercing a timid response from hers.  His hands floated down her back, lightly touching the side of her breasts before settling possessively at her waist. 

Mine. My woman. This woman was made for me. She has to know it too.

When they finally pulled apart, she looked down, flushed and breathing hard.

“Well?” he said when he found himself able to talk again. “Was that a ‘just being kind’ kiss, do you think?”

She looked up at him, her eyes lit with a mischievous glow. “You’ve proved your point. There was nothing ‘kind’ about it. I must allow that you are a magnificent kisser, Preston.”

His breath quickened. “There is nothing I would like better than to kiss you like that every day. Several times, in fact. I am convinced that we could have an exemplary partnership, my dear, if we were to make our marriage a real one.”

Amazon

 

New Release: Ackermann’s Repository Fashion Prints: 1809-1828

It all started last winter when I decided to begin collecting fashion prints. Not just images of fashion prints on Pinterest, but real antique fashion prints. The images are pretty, but the thought of having the real piece of paper printed and hand-colored by people two hundred years ago gives me a thrill. I feel as though touching it makes me a part of history (although so far I haven’t been whisked back in time, unfortunately).

As more and more little packages began arriving from England, France, Australia, and the U.S., I started to lose track of which prints I already had, causing me to have a few duplicates. Scrivener, an application I use for writing projects, seemed an obvious choice for organizing my fashion prints. I simply grouped the scanned images into chapters by year, thus making it simple to refer to when considering the purchase of new prints.

But what I really wanted was some sort of reference book with all the prints and descriptions to use in my writing projects. Those I purchased online were beautiful and extremely well done, but they didn’t include them all. I wanted a book with them all. I didn’t realize at the time how large a book that would be, or that it was probably an impossible task. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t thinking of publishing a book or anything. I just wanted to have them on hand.

So I started with Ackermann’s Repository, because I knew where to download issues from all of its twenty years. It was tedious going, but it gave me something to do in the afternoons when Dad and I were watching TV (I’m a caregiver in the winter), and I had to be able to switch my attention off and on when he needed something. I went through every issue and screenshot the two prints from each issue as well as the descriptions and fashion commentary. And a few other things I found of interest there. (Someday I want to go through and read some of the other articles and stories as well.) I kept everything in folders by month and year, and eventually I started typing out the text and organizing it all in another Scrivener project. It turned out to be a HUGE project: 480 fashion prints and over 200,000 words. (Fortunately, I am a very fast typist.)

About halfway through, I began to think perhaps other authors might benefit from having this information. It wouldn’t take much to format it as an e-book. It didn’t occur to me to put it up for sale until later, when several authors assured me they would love to purchase it. And frankly, the process of formatting so many images and text turned out to be extremely time-consuming, even when my plan was for an e-book only. Charging a few dollars for such a comprehensive project seemed reasonable enough. Little did I know how large the book was going to be. 1462 pages, to be precise. Amazon warned me it was a big file. I hope the buyers don’t have problems with it.

Eventually I mentioned it at a Facebook party, and everyone kept asking if it was going to be in print. Well, I hadn’t thought of doing that right away, but as long as I had all the files, I thought I might as well look into it. And when I did, I had some surprises coming.

First of all, Createspace won’t print a 1462-page book. In fact, Createspace’s limit is 480 pages. So I had to break the book down into four parts: 1809-1814, 1815-1818, 1819-1822, 1823-1828. Four books, in addition to the original monstrously huge e-book. Four books is four times the amount of work, but oh well. I plugged away.

That leads to the second surprise. Color books of 300-400 pages are very expensive. The lowest price Createspace would allow me to set was $46+, with zero royalties. That pretty much floored me. Who’s going to pay $200 for four books? But hey, they were already done. I couldn’t stop now.

However, it occurred to me that many potential purchasers might not be that interested in the fashion commentary. What if I put together a print book with only the fashion prints? Since there were 480 prints alone, the minimum number of pages I needed was 492. Createspace only does a maximum of 480. So I decided to check out Ingram Spark. Ingram will publish a wider range of sizes and pages than Createspace, so I initiated the process. Ingram will do an e-book for the same price as a print book, so that’s how I ended up with another e-book (with the prints only) as well as another print book.

Seven. That’s seven versions in all. Does that sound excessive? Of course it does. But through it all, I learned so much. I hope historical fashion connoisseurs will find at least one of them useful.

And now… I think I better get back to writing stories.

P.S. I also created a Regency fashion print Facebook group. Here’s the link if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2216340281934103.

Also, today at 4 p.m. EDT, I’m hosting a release party for my Ackermann books. If you’d like to attend, you must first join the group above, and then you’ll have access to the event. Guest authors include: Ella Quinn, Heather King, Caroline Warfield, Jude Knight, Louisa Cornell, Bluestocking Belles, Cora Lee, Cerise DeLand, Collette Cameron, Rue Allyn, Lizzi Tremayne, Victoria Vane, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Aileen Fish, and Sherry Ewing. Will I see you there?

Fashion Prints with Commentary

Digital

ISBN: 978-1-945503-02-3

$7.99

AmazonKoboiBooks

Print

ISBN: 978-1-945503-03-0

$49.99 (374 pp)

Ackermann’s Fashion Prints 1809-1814 (Vol. 1)

ISBN: 978-1-945503-04-7

$49.99 (360 pp)

Ackermann’s Fashion Prints 1815-1818 (Vol. 2)

ISBN: 978-1-945503-05-4

$49.99 (364 pp)

Ackermann’s Fashion Prints 1819-1822 (Vol. 3)

ISBN: 978-1-945503-06-1

$52.99 (408 pp)

Ackermann’s Fashion Prints 1823-1828 (Vol. 4)

Fashion Prints without Commentary

Digital

ISBN: 978-1-945503-08-5

$7.99

Amazon • B&N • iBooks • Kobo

Print

ISBN: 978-1-945503-07-8

$34.99 (496 pp)

Amazon Barnes & Noble

 

Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements to Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Made-Dishes

This post is part of the Authors in Bloom Ten-Day Blog Tour. Each stop on the tour will offer a prize, and a Grand Prize of an eReader and a $25 Gift Card will be awarded to two participants who comment on each and every one of the participating blogs.

My prize is a print copy of my time travel romance, A Home for Helena, about a young woman who discovers she was kidnapped from Regency England as a child. This prize is International and will be awarded to a random commenter on this blog post.

Note: Be sure to leave your contact email in your comment so that you can be contacted if necessary.

 

Made-Dishes

What is technically called a made-dish, presupposes either a more elaborate mode of cookery than plain frying, boiling, or roasting or else some combination of those elementary processes,—as, for example, half-roasting and finishing in the stew-pan, which is a very common way of dressing a ragout. All dishes commonly called French dishes are of this class, such as fricassees and ragouts, meat braised, larded, &c. and so are hashes, curries, and generally all viands that are re-dressed.

Made-dishes are valued by the gourmand for their seasonings and piquancy, but they are equally esteemed by the economist from the circumstance of a much less quantity of material than would suffice for a boil or roast, making a handsome and highly-flavoured dish; while, by the various modes of re-dressing, every thing cold is, in a new made-dish turned to good account. The most common fault of made dishes is, that they are overdone.

The very name made-dish, with us implies something savoury and highly relishing, and though over seasoning is to be avoided, it is proper that made-dishes should rather be piquant than insipid.

Made-dishes of beef that has been dressed.

Few persons come to the years of eating-discretion like cold meat, and though the days are quite gone when the hospitality of the landlord was measured by the size of the joint, it still happens that where a table affords any variety of dishes, much meat will be left cold. The invention of the culinary artist is thus put on the rack for new forms and modes of dress, and new names for various dishes which are intrinsically one. The most common and the best methods of dressing cold beef are broiling, heating in the Dutch oven, or hashing.

Click here for links to all of Mrs. Barlow’s recipes.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Amazon • iBooks • Kobo • Nook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements for Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Sauces

Sauces, Essences, and Condiments

“Elements! each other greeting,

“Gifts and Powers attend your meeting!”

Pirate

“It is the duty of a good sauce,” says one of the most recondite of modern gastrologers, the Editor of the Almanach des Gourmands, “to insinuate itself all round the maxillary glands, and call into activity each ramification of the palatic organs. If it not be relishing, it is incapable of producing this effect, and if too piquant, it will deaden instead of exciting those titillations of tongue and vibrations of palate, which can only be produced by the most accomplished philosophers of the mouth on the well-trained palate of the refined gourmet.” This, we think, is a tolerably correct definition of what a well-compounded sauce ought to be.

The French, among our other insular distinctions, speak of us as a nation “with twenty religions and only one sauce,”—parsley and butter, by the way, is this national relish,—and unquestionably English cookery, like English manners, has ever been much simpler than that of our neighbours. Modern cookery too, like modern dress, is stripped of many of its original tag-rag fripperies. We have laid aside lace and embroidery, save upon occasions of high ceremonial, and, at the same time, all omnegatherum compound sauces and ragouts, with a smack of every thing. Yet the human form and the human palate have not lost by this revolution. The harmonies of flavours, the affinities and coherence of tastes, and the art of blending and of opposing relishes, were never so well understood as now; for the modern kitchen still affords, in sufficient variety, the sharp, the pungent, the sweet, the acid, the spicy, the aromatic, and the nutty flavours, of which to compound mild, savoury, or piquant sauces, though a host of ingredients are laid aside.

The elegance of a table, as opposed to mere lumbering sumptuousness, or vulgar luxury, is perhaps best discovered in the adaptation of the sauces to the meats served, and in their proper preparation and attractive appearance. Plain Sauces ought to have, as their name imports, a decided character; so ought the sweet and the savory. All Sauces should be served hot,—a matter too often neglected in the hurry of dishing and serving dinner. Sauces with which cream and eggs are mixed must be diligently stirred after these ingredients are added, to provent their curdling, and suffered to warm through, but not to boil. The same care must be taken in mixing capers and all acid pickles in sauce. Though it is willful waste to put wine, catsup, lemon-juice, aromatic spices, and other expensive ingredients, into sauces for more than the time necessary to extract the flavour, yet, on the other hand, these things must be infused or boiled long enough to be properly blended, both in substance and flavour, with the basis of the sauce. The previous concoction must also be duly attended to, whether at the mincing-board, in the mortar, or saucepan. As a general rule, brown sauces should be thinner than white. Cream should be boiled before mixing.

The basis, or, more correctly, the vehicle of most English sauces, is butter, whether melted, oiled, browned, or burnt; or gravy, clear, brown, or thickened; also water, milk, cream, and wine, or some substitute. A numerous class of sauces is composed of vegetables and green fruits, another of shell-fish, and a third of meat. There are still other sauces compounded of an admixture of all these ingredients. It will simplify arrangement to take these in regular order; though the philosophers of the kitchen, it must be owned, shake themselves tolerably free of the trammels of system.

Click here for links to all of Mrs. Barlow’s recipes.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Amazon • iBooks • Kobo • Nook

Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements to Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Preserving Roots and Vegetables

To Preserve Roots and Vegetables

Potatoes are of most consequence. Choose them of the middle-size, fresh from the mould, or the store-pit. Yellow kidneys are for the earlier part of the season; and red or calico potatoes for the spring months, as these keep best late in the year. Keep them in a cellar below ground, where the temperature is pretty equal, and never very low, and defend them well from frost and currents of air with straw or mats. In spring, have them turned over, and the growths carefully picked away, which process must be again repeated later in the season. Keep carrots and turnips, parsnips, and beet-roots, with their native mould about them, in dry sand: onions are best preserved strung, or the small ones in nets, in a cool but not a damp place. Use the thick-necked spongy ones first; they may have the germ taken out, with a larding-pin, and then be strung up, or they may be kiln-dried. Parsley may be picked, and dried by tying it in bundles to a rope, or drying it in a cool oven; and so may other herbs. French beans [green beans or string beans] will keep by salting and closing them up, and soaking them before they are dressed; but they lose a good deal of their flavour and colour. Cucumbers, kidney-beans, endive, &c., may be parboiled and kept closed up in strong pickle; soaking them to freshen them before they are dressed. Green peas are shelled, scalded repeatedly, drained, dried in cloths, spread on plates, and put in a cool oven, and afterwards hung up in paper-bags to harden’ soak them before they are used. After all this trouble they are but the ghosts of green peas. They may also be scalded, bottled, covered with clarified butter, corked up, and the corks dipped in rosin; but nothing will preserve the sweet flavour and marrowy substance of the young pea. Cabbages, lettuce, greens, endive, leeks, cauliflower, &c., if carefully removed in dry weather from the ground, without injuring the roots too much, and laid in a cold cellar, or on a stone floor, covering the roots with earth or sand, will keep through the winter, even when the frost might destroy them if left in the garden; and this we conceive the best mode of preservation.

To Store Fruits of Different Kinds

This art is now so well understood, that in spring and early summer, apples, and even pears, are seen as plump and fresh as in the autumn when they were gathered.

Gather the fruits when just ready to drop off easily, but not over-ripe—do not bruide the fruit in gathering—lay it to sweat for a week in heaps, covered with mats, flannels, &c. Wipe each apple or pear, one by one, and place them in glazed stone-ware gallon jars, bedded in fine sifted sand, dried in an oven; fill up the jars with sand. Pack each sort by itself, label the jars and close them, and keep them in an airy loft, but protect from frost by covering them with a thick linen cloth.

N.B.—Eggs, fruit, and other things packed in straw acquire a very musty flavour. This, which is called being straw-tasted, may be avoided by using dried fern for packing.

Click here for links to all of Mrs. Barlow’s recipes.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Amazon • iBooks • Kobo • Nook

Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements to Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Vegetables and Roots

Vegetables and Roots

Vegetables are at their best when just on the eve of being ripe, in their natural season, and when their growth has neither been retarded, nor forced on by artificial means. The vanity, and it is no better, which spurs on people to load their tables with flavourless, colourless, immature vegetables, is ever punished by the expense and disappointment it occasions. Much, however, has been judiciously done of late years, both to improve the quality and to spread the cultivation of vegetables. Where a turnip, a cabbage, or a leek, was twenty years ago the only vegetable luxury found on a country gentleman’s table, we now see a regular succession of not merely brocoli, cauliflower, and peas, but the more recondite asparagus, sea-kale, endive, and artichoke, with an abundance of small saladings. The vegetable-markets of most towns have within the same period undergone a wonderful improvement. The number and quantity of articles are more than doubled, and the price, except for early vegetables, has diminished at least a half; so that this healthful and harmless luxury is now within the reach of all classes. But vegetables of the more delicate species are still comparatively such recent acquaintances, that, even at tables otherwise elegantly appointed, they are seldom seen perfectly well dressed, at least in so far as regards colour. That homely chemistry, which does not disdain to descend to the kitchen, has indeed considerably assisted the cook of late in this department. A few general observations will, if attended to, supply the place of long or often-repeated directions for dressing vegetables. Unlike animal substances, vegetables can never be dressed too fresh, though some kinds, such as French beans and artichokes, will keep a few days. They must, after being carefully cleared from insects and decayed leaves, or other spoiled parts, be washed in plenty of water; they cannot be too much washed. Let them lie in salt and water, head downwards, till they are put to boil. This simple method will bring out every insect that may lurk in the leaves. To preserve their beauty, they must be boiled alone, in a perfectly clean and well-tinned vessel, and in abundance of soft water. A tea-spoonful of salt of wormwood, or a bit of pearl-ashes or soda of the size of a nutmeg, will not only preserve the green colour, but contribute to the tenderness of cabbage, savoys, &c. Put in all vegetables with soft boiling water and plenty of salt; with hard water the colour will keep better, but the quality will not improve. Make them boil fast, and do not cover the vessel if you desire to preserve their fine colour. In a former section it was recommended to boil several sorts of vegetables and roots with the meat, when salted, with which they are to be served; and this, though it may injure the colour, will certainly improve the quality,—a point of greater importance. All vegetables should be enough boiled. The cook’s rule of having them crisp is as inimical to health as offensive to the palate. If boiled quickly, which they ought to be, vegetables are ready when they begin to sink in the boiling water, and they will spoil ever instant after that. Meat may wait a little, but vegetables will not.

Obs.—Stewed and roasted onions used to be a favourite supper-dish in Scotland, and were reckoned medicinal. The onions were stewed (after boiling) in a butter-sauce, to which cream was put,—the sauce blanche of France.

Click here for links to all of Mrs. Barlow’s recipes.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

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Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements to Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Broths, Soups, and Gravies

C’est la soupe qui fait le Soldat.

French Proverb.

Soup has been termed the vestibule to a banquet. We call it the only true foundation to the principal repast of the day, whether it be a Cottage or a Cabinet dinner. With this belief we hold as maxims, that the French take the lead of all European people in soups and broths, that the Scotch rank second, the Welsh next, and that the English, as a nation, are at the very bottom of the scale; and farther, that if soup be the foundation of a good dinner, it is equally true that beef is the only foundation of good soup. Whether brown or white, plain or rich, the basis must still be beef,—fresh-killed, juicy young beef, and soft pure water. The essential qualities of soup are, that it be nourishing and restorative. It is the food of childhood and extreme old age, of the declining and the debilitated, for whom the soup-pot performs half the offices of the digestive organs. With these invigorating and salutiferous qualities, the mildest, the richest, and the most poignant relishes may be combined, by the judicious employment of the numerous ingredients which go to the composition of soups. The capital defect of soups is generally not so much the want of meat as of the time necessary to the due concoction of a rich fluid composed of so many ingredients. These defects it is vainly attempted to conceal by the excessive use of pepper and herbs. The following elementary rules, from the French of the chemist Parmentier, were assumed by the Club as practical directions to the cook.

Rules for Making Nourishing Broth

  1. Sound healthful viands.
  2. Vessels of earthenware in preference to those of metal, as a less degree of heat keeps them boiling; and once heated, a few hot cinders will maintain that slight degree of ebullition which is wanted.
  3. Double the weight of water to that of the meat used.
  4. A sufficient quantity of common salt to facilitate the separation of the blood and slime that coagulates under the form of scum.
  5. In the early stage of the process such a degree of heat as will throw off the whole scum.
  6. A lower, but an equal temperature, that the soup may simmer gently till the substances employed, whether nutritive, colouring, or flavouring, are perfectly combined with the water, according to their several degrees of solubility.

Some soups are very good when made the day before they are to be eaten, as the top-fat can be removed in a cake, and they attain more complete consistence… without losing their flavour, but they need not be seasoned till wanted; and should then be slowly heated to the boiling point: if permitted to boil, some soups will lose part of their flavour; and of soups with meat, the meat will harden. Excellent judges differ on this point. Many think every hot preparation best when fresh cooked, and soups of the number. Of this kind are brown soup, hare soup, soup of game of any kind, giblet soup, and generally all soups made of the meat of animals of mature growth. Soups into which vegetables and young meats enter in any quantity, are best when fresh made, as those things have a strong tendency to ferment. This also holds of veal and fish soups… In all English books on cookery there is too much wine ordered for soups, and sometimes too little meat. The former error is less dangerous, as what is levied from the cellar does not always find its way to the soup-pot. All roots, bread-raspings, barley, and meal, for plain common soups, ought to be put in as soon as the pot is skimmed, when the roots are merely intended to thicken and flavour the soup. When to be cut in pieces and served in the broth, an hour’s boiling is fully enough for carrot, turnip, onions, &c. Many things are used to thicken and give consistence to common soups and sauces. The best perhaps is fine toasted oatmeal, potato mucilage, or bread not too stale. When the soup or gravy is too much boiled in, the waste must be supplied with boiling water or broth; and though we strenuously recommend, in general, close-covered pots, yet when the soup is watery and weak the lid may be taken off till the watery particles evaporate; for thickening gives consistence, but not strength… Broth made of fat meat may have a larger proportion of greens, leeks, cabbage, or whatever green vegetable is used, than leaner meat. The best plain browning for soups, sauces, gravies, &c., is red wine, soy, or mushroom or walnut catsup… The cook is entreated to bear in mind, that the elegance of all brown soups consists in transparency, united with richness and flavour; of white soups, and fish and vegetable soups, in the goodness of the desired colour and fullness on the palate.

Soup may be made in an infinity of ways. There is no end to the combinations of meat, games, fish, herbs, roots, spices, and mucilage, with water; but the basis of the best soup is, as we have said, beef,—fresh, full of juices, young, succulent, and not too fat,—the lean parts of a fat animal.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

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