opened the cupboard beside the fireplace, bringing out canisters of tea and sugar."
"Darcy's stomach turned over as he stared down at the purple chunk of bloody flesh on his plate, momentarily forgetting that the modern practice of tinting meat a more appetizing shade of red had yet to be invented."
The Man Who Loved Jane Austen
"Maggie had started a fire in the dining room and left a rack of thickly sliced toasted bread on the small oak table. Along with the toast was a dish of fresh butter and a small fruit compote made up mostly of peaches, plums and apricots from the garden. Jane preferred such a meal for the start of the day rather than the heavy breakfasts of meats favored by her brothers."
So Jane Austen would have the time she needed to write Martha, Jane's mother and sister (both named Cassandra) handled most of the daily household chores. Jane's main responsibility was securing the coffee, tea, sugar and wine.
The bake house at Chawton Cottage
Stew a quarter of a pd. Of the pipe Macaroni in milk and water until tis tender, then lay it upon top of a sive to drain. ~Put it into a stew pan with two large spoonfuls of grated parmesan Cheese, a quarter of a pint of Cream, a small piece of Butter & some salt ~ Stew it gently till the whole seems well done, then put it into a dish, strew grated Parmesan Cheese over it, & brown it with a Salamander or in a Dutch Oven ~ It may be done with gravy instead of Cream if preferred.
Jugged Steaks with Potatoes
Take rump Steakes, beat them well, pepper & salt them, then take a soup-pot, put at the bottom a little fresh butter, a row of Stakes, a row of Potatoes, & so on till its full, then fill some gravy or broth just enough to cover it, let it stew for three hours, then strain it all off & skim the fat from it, thicken it up with butter & flour, then put it over the steakes again, give it one boil up & taste if salt is enough.
Food historian Maggie Black has created modern variations of the dishes (some of which I have tried and are very good) and Austen scholar and biographer, Deirdre Le Faye shows how food played an important role in Jane’s life and novels as well as the history of the information found in Martha’s manuscript which included medical remedies, household cleaners and cosmetic supplies like floral waters, tooth powder,soap, even veterinary remedies.
The Dining Parlor at Chawton Cottage
Here are a few of her recipes from the Jane Austen cookbook. The book includes many from other sources common to the
time but for this site we are using only Martha's ( as she wrote them) since Jane was likely to have actually eaten them.
Martha took over the daily running of the household and like many women of her era kept her recipes in a book,
pages of which are now on display in the newly restored kitchen of Jane Austen's House Museum, in Chawton.
Martha Lloyd was Jane's eldest brother's sister-in-law and after the death of her mother in 1805,
Martha joined Jane, Cassandra and their mother, moving with them to Chawton Cottage.
Take 8oz. of apricot kernels, if they cannot be had bitter Almonds will do as well, blanch them & beat them very fine with a little Orange flower water, mix them with the whites of three eggs well beaten & put to them two pounds of single refined Sugar finely beaten & sifted, work all together and it will be like a paste, then lay it in little round bits on tin plates flour'd, set them in an oven that is not very hot & they will puff up & be soon be baked.
"Jane set the copper tea kettle that hung out over the hearth to boil and with a small iron key
Mrs. Perrot's Pound Cake
A pound of sugar well dried and sifted apd of new churn’d butter beat into it with a wooden slice, till they become an oyl, in about ½ an hour, then add 8 egges very lightly beaten with half the whites, a tea cup mountain a nutmeg grated and a small bit of cinnamon sifted, keep all stirring till ye oven is ready (which must be made pretty hot, but ye first heat let go a little off as they are apt to be over coloured) have ready a pd of flour well dried and no lumps as that makes em heavy, and mix it with ye rest just as its going into ye oven. If you chuse currants ¾ of a pound well washed & pick’d to be strew’d over them just as they are put into your tins.