Thursday, November 5, 2009

Who is the best dinner date?

We’re going to find an ancient recipe of the food I mentioned in my novel Bargain with the Devil to cook for Mr. Darcy.

Why Mr. Darcy?

He’s handsome and rich, for sure. But his most adoring character was his consistency in love for Elizabeth Bennet. In my book, he could be angry, funny, serious and steamy at times. I reckon he will be a great dinner date.

And of course I love food too. In my novels and stories, I often touch on food or use it as a plot device.

In my novel, one night at Whitstable, a town in Southeast England famous for its oysters, Mr. Darcy got drunk and told Elizabeth: “They tell me that oysters are good for the men. It makes them go…on and on. You know, on and on…with their women. Do you want to try?”

I sure do, Mr. Darcy!

It’s interesting to know that oysters were not considered a delicacy in the past:

Oysters were a popular snack in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were sold on street corners in cities and were often devoured in their fried and pickled forms. Both high and low society adored them –Cooking with Jane Austen by Kirstin Olsen, 2005, Regency Encyclopedia

And Jane Austen was no stranger to oysters either. In one of her letters to her sister, she talked about oyster sauce:

We sate down to dinner a little after five, and had some beefsteaks and a boiled fowl, but no oyster sauce. - Letter VIII – Letters of Jane Austen, Jane Austen

Here is a recipe for frying oysters from The Art of Cookery, by Hannah Glasse, 1805 (please note the use of f instead of s in this ancient recipe):

Take a quart of the largeft oyfters you can get, open them, fave the liquor, and ftrain it through a fine fieve; wath your oyfters in warm water. Make a batter thus: take two yolks of eggs, beat them well, grate in half a nutmeg, cut a little lemon peel fmall, a good deal of parfley, a fpoonful of the juice of fpinach, two fpoonfuls of cream or milk, beat it up with floor to a thick batter; have ready fome butter in a ftew-pan, dip your oyfters one by one into the batter, and have ready crumbs of bread, then roll them in it, and fry them quick and brown; fome with the crumbs of bread, and fome without.

Take them out of the pan, and fet them before the fire; then have ready a quart of chefnuts fhelled and fkinned, fry them in the butter; when they are enough take them up, pour the fat out of the pan, fhake a little flour all over the pan, and rub a piece of butter as big as hen’s egg all over the pan with your fpoon, till it is melted and thick; then put in the oyfter-liquor, three or four blades of mace, ftir it round, put in a few piftachio-nuts fhelled, let them boil, then put in the chefnuts, and half a pint of white wine, have ready the yolks of two eggs beat up with four fpoonfuls of cream; ftir all well together. When it is thick and fine, lay the oyfters in the difh, and pour the ragoo over them. Garnifh with chefnuts and lemon.

You can try out this delicious recipe for your Mr. Darcy later on.

- Reposted from Romance Junkies Blog


  1. How about the Calorie count, Enid? Us fat boys gotta worry about that, too, you know! Oh, and don't forget Cholesterol, too. Sigh.

    Best Wishes, Galen.

  2. Oh Galen, but fat was in fashion in the past.


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