Force feeding

‘Gordon,’ she said, ‘a cake.’
He shook his head and said softly, as if soothing her, ‘Oh, no, no.’
‘Yes, Gordon. It is full of goodness.’ And she made him eat a Chester cake…

(Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)

If you’re anything like me, then the idea of being ‘forced’ to eat cake – with the justification that ‘it is full of goodness’- is a very appealing one! In The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie that is exactly what happens.  Continue reading “Force feeding”

Old Country Customs

The chief delicacy at these [harvest] teas was “baker’s cake”, a rich, fruity, spicy dough cake, obtained in the following manner. The housewife provided all the ingredients excepting the dough, putting raisins and currants, lard, sugar and spice in a basin which she gave to the baker, who added the dough, made and baked the cake, and returned it, beautifully browned in his big oven. The charge was the same as that for a loaf of bread the same size, and the result was delicious.                                            (Flora Thompson, Lark Rise to Candleford)

One of the things I’ve found most interesting through writing this blog is finding out about food customs from the past. Whether it be the rout cakes made for large gatherings in Jane Austen’s Emma, the cook shops of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield or the superstitions about butter-making in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, literature often provides a fascinating insight into the culinary and food traditions of the time.   Continue reading “Old Country Customs”