Cooking Up A New Historical Mystery

TheCocoaConspiracy  Cara/Andrea here, wearing my “Mystery” hat today (decorated with gaily wrapped Holiday chocolates) as I celebrate the release this week of the second book in my Regency-set Lady Arianna historical mystery series. December is actually a perfect month for it, because eating, drinking, dancing and partying—all to lavish excess—play a prominent role in the plot.

It all starts with chocolate—my hero and heroine possess a number of unconventional talents, including an expertise in Theobroma cacao. So when Arianna spots a rare book of botanical engravings on the subject in a fancy London bookshop, she decides to purchase it for her new husband, the Earl of Saybrook. The trouble is, someone else is equally determined to possess it and she must fight him off (luckily she knows some very unladylike moves from her rough-and-tumble childhood.)

Chocolate-engraving-2The episode is forgotten, until she and Saybrook are invited to attend a country house party for an elite group of international diplomats, where she is shocked to discover that her erstwhile assailant is one of the guests. But even more ominous is the discovery that the chocolate book contains hidden documents that implicate someone near and dear to them in a plot to betray Great Britain at the upcoming Congress of Vienna. To find the real culprit, they must travel to Austria, where rulers of Europe—along with the crème de la crème of high society—have gathered to make peace . . . and make love, not necessarily in that order. And so, amid the swirl of lavish entertainments, opulent balls and sumptuous suppers, their sleuthing talents are put to the supreme test.

TalleyrandOne of the fun things about writing the book was adding some of the real life people who attended the Conference as “color” characters. And trust me, they were colorful indeed! Metternich, Talleyrand, Alexander I of Russia—a writer would be hard-pressed to make up more flamboyant personalities. So they play a role in the story. But so does an even more delicious historical figure.

Careme-portraitMarie Antoine Carême served as the personal chef to Talleyrand, the charismatic French Foreign Minister, during the time period of my story . . . now forget Bobby Flay and Gordon Ramsay—Carême was the first celebrity chef, and in his astounding career, he cooked not only for Talleyrand but also for Napoleon, the Prince Regent, Tsar Alexander and the Rothschild family. Known as the Chef of Kings, (and the King of Chefs) he revolutionized many elements of haute cuisine, but he is perhaps best known for his amazing skills with pastries. So how could I resist having him and Arianna cross cooking spoons! 

The heat is on . . . but I’ll leave you to discover the details of my story on your own. Right now, let me give you a little taste of the real-life adventures of Marie Antoine Carême.

Careme-1 Careme-3Carême was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. One of many children, he was, at age ten, abandoned by his family in revolutionary Paris during the tumultuous days of 1793. He was taken in by the owner of a cheap chophouse, where he was put to work in the kitchen. In 1794, Carême was apprenticed to a well-known pâtissier, whose shop was located close to the Palais-Royal . . .and it was here that his genius began to soar!

Careme_2Pastry shops at the time featured elaborate display windows to attract their clientele, so fanciful creations would be made out of spun sugar, almond paste and dough. Now, Carême was a quiet, serious boy who spent his free time in the Bibliothèque Nationale, where he was fascinated by the architectural books showing ancient ruins, classical monuments and famous buildings. He began to copy these structures out of confectionary materials, creating what came to be known as his signature “Pièces Montées.” Pyramids, castles, cathedral—his art quickly became famous throughout the city and attracted the eye
of a notable gourmand—Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord.

Careme-diningA lover of fine wine, sublime food and beautiful women, Talleyrand commissioned the young Carême to create centerpieces for a number of his lavish parties. Impressed with his skills, he offered him employment at his Chateau Valencay, which was purchased with government funds so that Talleyrand could entertain diplomats and VIPs in proper French style. (Napoleon was famous for his utter disinterest in food, but he was savvy enough to know that sumptuous meals were an important weapon in winning allies around the Continent.)

But first, Talleyrand challenged Carême to come up with a full year’s menu using only seasonal produce. The chef succeeded, and voila—his career rose to even greater heights. Working for Talleyrand, he expanded his repertoire to all the different dishes served at a meal. In the course of honing his skills, he is credited with pioneering a number Cooksof innovations. The chef’s toque, and the serving of meals “a la Russe” (with each course brought to the table in succession, as we do today) instead of “a la Francaise” (where all the courses were set out at the beginning of a meal) are among his contributions to cuisine. He also wrote a number of cookbooks, including the multi-volume L’Art de la Cuisine Francais), which redefined haute cuisine.

Carême won further fame by creating a spectacular wedding cake for Napoleon and his new Austrian Empress. A year later he followed it up with a magnificent spun sugar creation for the christening of their infant son—a Venetian gondola crafted in sweet shades of celestial blue!

Tsar-AlexanderWhen Napoleon was forced to abdicate, Tsar Alexander of Russia entered Paris to be part of the diplomatic negotiations, and Talleyrand quickly invited him to stay at his palace on the rue St. Florentin. The Tsar  became so fond of Carême’s cooking that when he moved to the Elysee Palace, he asked to borrow the chef for the duration of his visit. (Carême created the now-famous dessert Charlotte Russe in honor of Alexander. Nesselrode Pudding—which became a favorite sweet of the Prince Regent, was named after the Russian Foreign Minister Karl von Nesselrode.)

RowlandsonepicurebigThe next King he served was the future George IV. After Waterloo, Prinny set out feelers to Paris, anxious to engage a top French chef for his own kitchens. Carême agreed to cross the Channel, and for a time cooked in London and the Prince’s Royal Pavilion at Brighton. (I find that a lovely pairing—the fanciful centerpieces gracing the tables of the fairytale Pavilion!) Prinny was said to have remarked that Carême’s luscious foods would be the death of him . . . to which Carême responded, “Your Highness, my concern is to tempt your appetite; yours is to curb it,”

Careme-4Alas, Carême could not stomach the English weather and returned to France after several years . . . where Tsar Alexander promptly offered him a king’s ransom to come cook in St. Petersburg. That lasted only a short while (I assume the Russian winter was no more palatable than the English rain) and back he came to Paris, where he became the private chef to James Rothschild of the famous banking family.

Carême died at the age of 48, his lungs ruined by years of toiling over charcoal fires. But his legacy of culinary genius has inspired generations of chefs to be artists in the kitchen.

So what about you? Do you like to cook . . . especially pastries? Do you have a favorite sweet for the holidays? Please share! I’ll be giving away a copy of THE COCOA CONSPIRACY to one randomly chosen reader who leaves a comment here between now and Tuesday evening.

215 thoughts on “Cooking Up A New Historical Mystery”

  1. This is great Andrea. Personally I hate cooking, but love eating. Consequently I drool over the picture and then go and eat an apple. Careme was an interesting man in the world of interesting men. I wonder if anyone today could be said to be on a par with men like him, Metternich, Talleyrand, Wellington, the Prince Regent, etc. etc. I suspect many of todays leaders like to think so, but??

    Reply
  2. This is great Andrea. Personally I hate cooking, but love eating. Consequently I drool over the picture and then go and eat an apple. Careme was an interesting man in the world of interesting men. I wonder if anyone today could be said to be on a par with men like him, Metternich, Talleyrand, Wellington, the Prince Regent, etc. etc. I suspect many of todays leaders like to think so, but??

    Reply
  3. This is great Andrea. Personally I hate cooking, but love eating. Consequently I drool over the picture and then go and eat an apple. Careme was an interesting man in the world of interesting men. I wonder if anyone today could be said to be on a par with men like him, Metternich, Talleyrand, Wellington, the Prince Regent, etc. etc. I suspect many of todays leaders like to think so, but??

    Reply
  4. This is great Andrea. Personally I hate cooking, but love eating. Consequently I drool over the picture and then go and eat an apple. Careme was an interesting man in the world of interesting men. I wonder if anyone today could be said to be on a par with men like him, Metternich, Talleyrand, Wellington, the Prince Regent, etc. etc. I suspect many of todays leaders like to think so, but??

    Reply
  5. This is great Andrea. Personally I hate cooking, but love eating. Consequently I drool over the picture and then go and eat an apple. Careme was an interesting man in the world of interesting men. I wonder if anyone today could be said to be on a par with men like him, Metternich, Talleyrand, Wellington, the Prince Regent, etc. etc. I suspect many of todays leaders like to think so, but??

    Reply
  6. I like baking though admit to not being very good at it. Luckily we have a dog in the house who’s not too fussy & my disasters are quickly disposed of (LOL!). Still hoping to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

    Reply
  7. I like baking though admit to not being very good at it. Luckily we have a dog in the house who’s not too fussy & my disasters are quickly disposed of (LOL!). Still hoping to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

    Reply
  8. I like baking though admit to not being very good at it. Luckily we have a dog in the house who’s not too fussy & my disasters are quickly disposed of (LOL!). Still hoping to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

    Reply
  9. I like baking though admit to not being very good at it. Luckily we have a dog in the house who’s not too fussy & my disasters are quickly disposed of (LOL!). Still hoping to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

    Reply
  10. I like baking though admit to not being very good at it. Luckily we have a dog in the house who’s not too fussy & my disasters are quickly disposed of (LOL!). Still hoping to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

    Reply
  11. Fascinating article, Cara/Andrea! And what a fascinating and colorful character was Careme!
    I love to cook, and come from a family that loved to cook. My sister and I get together regularly for what we call “Baking and Bonding” where we try out new recipes. I have a 3-ring binder of recipes collected or invented (by me) over the past 45+ years. Below is my favorite holiday recipe. It’s dead simple, with just 4 ingredients, but it is devastatingly good.
    CARAMEL CORN
    1 stick butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    7 large marshmallows
    Nuke ingredients in microwave safe bowl or melt in saucepan on stove. Cook and stir till sugar is thoroughly dissolved and all is blended. Pour over bag of microwave popcorn and mix well. Form into popcorn balls or serve loose in small bowls. To die for. Sinful.

    Reply
  12. Fascinating article, Cara/Andrea! And what a fascinating and colorful character was Careme!
    I love to cook, and come from a family that loved to cook. My sister and I get together regularly for what we call “Baking and Bonding” where we try out new recipes. I have a 3-ring binder of recipes collected or invented (by me) over the past 45+ years. Below is my favorite holiday recipe. It’s dead simple, with just 4 ingredients, but it is devastatingly good.
    CARAMEL CORN
    1 stick butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    7 large marshmallows
    Nuke ingredients in microwave safe bowl or melt in saucepan on stove. Cook and stir till sugar is thoroughly dissolved and all is blended. Pour over bag of microwave popcorn and mix well. Form into popcorn balls or serve loose in small bowls. To die for. Sinful.

    Reply
  13. Fascinating article, Cara/Andrea! And what a fascinating and colorful character was Careme!
    I love to cook, and come from a family that loved to cook. My sister and I get together regularly for what we call “Baking and Bonding” where we try out new recipes. I have a 3-ring binder of recipes collected or invented (by me) over the past 45+ years. Below is my favorite holiday recipe. It’s dead simple, with just 4 ingredients, but it is devastatingly good.
    CARAMEL CORN
    1 stick butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    7 large marshmallows
    Nuke ingredients in microwave safe bowl or melt in saucepan on stove. Cook and stir till sugar is thoroughly dissolved and all is blended. Pour over bag of microwave popcorn and mix well. Form into popcorn balls or serve loose in small bowls. To die for. Sinful.

    Reply
  14. Fascinating article, Cara/Andrea! And what a fascinating and colorful character was Careme!
    I love to cook, and come from a family that loved to cook. My sister and I get together regularly for what we call “Baking and Bonding” where we try out new recipes. I have a 3-ring binder of recipes collected or invented (by me) over the past 45+ years. Below is my favorite holiday recipe. It’s dead simple, with just 4 ingredients, but it is devastatingly good.
    CARAMEL CORN
    1 stick butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    7 large marshmallows
    Nuke ingredients in microwave safe bowl or melt in saucepan on stove. Cook and stir till sugar is thoroughly dissolved and all is blended. Pour over bag of microwave popcorn and mix well. Form into popcorn balls or serve loose in small bowls. To die for. Sinful.

    Reply
  15. Fascinating article, Cara/Andrea! And what a fascinating and colorful character was Careme!
    I love to cook, and come from a family that loved to cook. My sister and I get together regularly for what we call “Baking and Bonding” where we try out new recipes. I have a 3-ring binder of recipes collected or invented (by me) over the past 45+ years. Below is my favorite holiday recipe. It’s dead simple, with just 4 ingredients, but it is devastatingly good.
    CARAMEL CORN
    1 stick butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    7 large marshmallows
    Nuke ingredients in microwave safe bowl or melt in saucepan on stove. Cook and stir till sugar is thoroughly dissolved and all is blended. Pour over bag of microwave popcorn and mix well. Form into popcorn balls or serve loose in small bowls. To die for. Sinful.

    Reply
  16. Jenny, you are so right about politicians today, IMO. Metternich and Talleyrand were, despite their foibles, brilliant men who understood that compromise and talking with one’s enemies was the essence of forging lasting agreements. There was a civility there that feels sadly lacking today. Plus, they wore much cooler clothes!

    Reply
  17. Jenny, you are so right about politicians today, IMO. Metternich and Talleyrand were, despite their foibles, brilliant men who understood that compromise and talking with one’s enemies was the essence of forging lasting agreements. There was a civility there that feels sadly lacking today. Plus, they wore much cooler clothes!

    Reply
  18. Jenny, you are so right about politicians today, IMO. Metternich and Talleyrand were, despite their foibles, brilliant men who understood that compromise and talking with one’s enemies was the essence of forging lasting agreements. There was a civility there that feels sadly lacking today. Plus, they wore much cooler clothes!

    Reply
  19. Jenny, you are so right about politicians today, IMO. Metternich and Talleyrand were, despite their foibles, brilliant men who understood that compromise and talking with one’s enemies was the essence of forging lasting agreements. There was a civility there that feels sadly lacking today. Plus, they wore much cooler clothes!

    Reply
  20. Jenny, you are so right about politicians today, IMO. Metternich and Talleyrand were, despite their foibles, brilliant men who understood that compromise and talking with one’s enemies was the essence of forging lasting agreements. There was a civility there that feels sadly lacking today. Plus, they wore much cooler clothes!

    Reply
  21. When I was young, cooking was fun–particularly cakes and cookies for gifts. So, when I had my first apartment, I whipped up chocolate chip cookies for the holidays. Into the oven with the first tray, second ready, when the problem became apparent. My shoe box sized kitchen had no place for cooling, so my bed ended up covered in newspaper and wax paper and served as my cooling rack.

    Reply
  22. When I was young, cooking was fun–particularly cakes and cookies for gifts. So, when I had my first apartment, I whipped up chocolate chip cookies for the holidays. Into the oven with the first tray, second ready, when the problem became apparent. My shoe box sized kitchen had no place for cooling, so my bed ended up covered in newspaper and wax paper and served as my cooling rack.

    Reply
  23. When I was young, cooking was fun–particularly cakes and cookies for gifts. So, when I had my first apartment, I whipped up chocolate chip cookies for the holidays. Into the oven with the first tray, second ready, when the problem became apparent. My shoe box sized kitchen had no place for cooling, so my bed ended up covered in newspaper and wax paper and served as my cooling rack.

    Reply
  24. When I was young, cooking was fun–particularly cakes and cookies for gifts. So, when I had my first apartment, I whipped up chocolate chip cookies for the holidays. Into the oven with the first tray, second ready, when the problem became apparent. My shoe box sized kitchen had no place for cooling, so my bed ended up covered in newspaper and wax paper and served as my cooling rack.

    Reply
  25. When I was young, cooking was fun–particularly cakes and cookies for gifts. So, when I had my first apartment, I whipped up chocolate chip cookies for the holidays. Into the oven with the first tray, second ready, when the problem became apparent. My shoe box sized kitchen had no place for cooling, so my bed ended up covered in newspaper and wax paper and served as my cooling rack.

    Reply
  26. My son-in-law is a self-taught chef. He was able to make a splendid Christmas party dinner for my husband’s staff using a 24-inch oven and only two stove burners! Beef Wellington, marinated green beans, potato galate and a Buche de Noel for dessert. I’ve never forgotten that meal!
    Unfortunately, he also has serious lung disease and had to abandon his well-loved career in his mid-30s. Most people don’t know how hard chefs work but they regularly put in 12-18 hour days, especially during the holiday season.

    Reply
  27. My son-in-law is a self-taught chef. He was able to make a splendid Christmas party dinner for my husband’s staff using a 24-inch oven and only two stove burners! Beef Wellington, marinated green beans, potato galate and a Buche de Noel for dessert. I’ve never forgotten that meal!
    Unfortunately, he also has serious lung disease and had to abandon his well-loved career in his mid-30s. Most people don’t know how hard chefs work but they regularly put in 12-18 hour days, especially during the holiday season.

    Reply
  28. My son-in-law is a self-taught chef. He was able to make a splendid Christmas party dinner for my husband’s staff using a 24-inch oven and only two stove burners! Beef Wellington, marinated green beans, potato galate and a Buche de Noel for dessert. I’ve never forgotten that meal!
    Unfortunately, he also has serious lung disease and had to abandon his well-loved career in his mid-30s. Most people don’t know how hard chefs work but they regularly put in 12-18 hour days, especially during the holiday season.

    Reply
  29. My son-in-law is a self-taught chef. He was able to make a splendid Christmas party dinner for my husband’s staff using a 24-inch oven and only two stove burners! Beef Wellington, marinated green beans, potato galate and a Buche de Noel for dessert. I’ve never forgotten that meal!
    Unfortunately, he also has serious lung disease and had to abandon his well-loved career in his mid-30s. Most people don’t know how hard chefs work but they regularly put in 12-18 hour days, especially during the holiday season.

    Reply
  30. My son-in-law is a self-taught chef. He was able to make a splendid Christmas party dinner for my husband’s staff using a 24-inch oven and only two stove burners! Beef Wellington, marinated green beans, potato galate and a Buche de Noel for dessert. I’ve never forgotten that meal!
    Unfortunately, he also has serious lung disease and had to abandon his well-loved career in his mid-30s. Most people don’t know how hard chefs work but they regularly put in 12-18 hour days, especially during the holiday season.

    Reply
  31. MJ, your SIL sounds like an amazing chef. So sorry to hear of his ailment. Hope he is doing okay. You are so right—-chefs work incredibly long hours and it’s a very demanding job physically. They are on their feet all the time, lifting hot pans, carrying supplies,etc. It’s no wonder that many of them “burn out.”

    Reply
  32. MJ, your SIL sounds like an amazing chef. So sorry to hear of his ailment. Hope he is doing okay. You are so right—-chefs work incredibly long hours and it’s a very demanding job physically. They are on their feet all the time, lifting hot pans, carrying supplies,etc. It’s no wonder that many of them “burn out.”

    Reply
  33. MJ, your SIL sounds like an amazing chef. So sorry to hear of his ailment. Hope he is doing okay. You are so right—-chefs work incredibly long hours and it’s a very demanding job physically. They are on their feet all the time, lifting hot pans, carrying supplies,etc. It’s no wonder that many of them “burn out.”

    Reply
  34. MJ, your SIL sounds like an amazing chef. So sorry to hear of his ailment. Hope he is doing okay. You are so right—-chefs work incredibly long hours and it’s a very demanding job physically. They are on their feet all the time, lifting hot pans, carrying supplies,etc. It’s no wonder that many of them “burn out.”

    Reply
  35. MJ, your SIL sounds like an amazing chef. So sorry to hear of his ailment. Hope he is doing okay. You are so right—-chefs work incredibly long hours and it’s a very demanding job physically. They are on their feet all the time, lifting hot pans, carrying supplies,etc. It’s no wonder that many of them “burn out.”

    Reply
  36. The new book sounds amazing (I loved Tracy Grant’s book set in the Congress, it will be fun to read your take). The holiday stand-by in my house are cream cheese cookies (you know, the recipe that comes with old cookie presses).
    Ingredients
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/2 cups flour
    Directions
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
    Lightly grease cookie sheets.
    In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.
    Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.
    Stir in flour until well blended.
    Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet (or use a cookie press).
    Bake for 15 minutes.Cookies should be pale.

    Reply
  37. The new book sounds amazing (I loved Tracy Grant’s book set in the Congress, it will be fun to read your take). The holiday stand-by in my house are cream cheese cookies (you know, the recipe that comes with old cookie presses).
    Ingredients
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/2 cups flour
    Directions
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
    Lightly grease cookie sheets.
    In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.
    Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.
    Stir in flour until well blended.
    Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet (or use a cookie press).
    Bake for 15 minutes.Cookies should be pale.

    Reply
  38. The new book sounds amazing (I loved Tracy Grant’s book set in the Congress, it will be fun to read your take). The holiday stand-by in my house are cream cheese cookies (you know, the recipe that comes with old cookie presses).
    Ingredients
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/2 cups flour
    Directions
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
    Lightly grease cookie sheets.
    In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.
    Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.
    Stir in flour until well blended.
    Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet (or use a cookie press).
    Bake for 15 minutes.Cookies should be pale.

    Reply
  39. The new book sounds amazing (I loved Tracy Grant’s book set in the Congress, it will be fun to read your take). The holiday stand-by in my house are cream cheese cookies (you know, the recipe that comes with old cookie presses).
    Ingredients
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/2 cups flour
    Directions
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
    Lightly grease cookie sheets.
    In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.
    Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.
    Stir in flour until well blended.
    Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet (or use a cookie press).
    Bake for 15 minutes.Cookies should be pale.

    Reply
  40. The new book sounds amazing (I loved Tracy Grant’s book set in the Congress, it will be fun to read your take). The holiday stand-by in my house are cream cheese cookies (you know, the recipe that comes with old cookie presses).
    Ingredients
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/2 cups flour
    Directions
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
    Lightly grease cookie sheets.
    In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.
    Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.
    Stir in flour until well blended.
    Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet (or use a cookie press).
    Bake for 15 minutes.Cookies should be pale.

    Reply
  41. Oh, Isobel, the recipe looks simply divine!
    I loved Tracy’s book, Vienna Waltz, and feel a VERY high bar has been set as a standard. Am flexing my knees and getting ready to jump, LOL) It’s such a great setting, I’m surprised more authors haven’t pounced on it. Decadence, dalliances, diplomacy . . . honestly, what more can you ask for as “local color!”

    Reply
  42. Oh, Isobel, the recipe looks simply divine!
    I loved Tracy’s book, Vienna Waltz, and feel a VERY high bar has been set as a standard. Am flexing my knees and getting ready to jump, LOL) It’s such a great setting, I’m surprised more authors haven’t pounced on it. Decadence, dalliances, diplomacy . . . honestly, what more can you ask for as “local color!”

    Reply
  43. Oh, Isobel, the recipe looks simply divine!
    I loved Tracy’s book, Vienna Waltz, and feel a VERY high bar has been set as a standard. Am flexing my knees and getting ready to jump, LOL) It’s such a great setting, I’m surprised more authors haven’t pounced on it. Decadence, dalliances, diplomacy . . . honestly, what more can you ask for as “local color!”

    Reply
  44. Oh, Isobel, the recipe looks simply divine!
    I loved Tracy’s book, Vienna Waltz, and feel a VERY high bar has been set as a standard. Am flexing my knees and getting ready to jump, LOL) It’s such a great setting, I’m surprised more authors haven’t pounced on it. Decadence, dalliances, diplomacy . . . honestly, what more can you ask for as “local color!”

    Reply
  45. Oh, Isobel, the recipe looks simply divine!
    I loved Tracy’s book, Vienna Waltz, and feel a VERY high bar has been set as a standard. Am flexing my knees and getting ready to jump, LOL) It’s such a great setting, I’m surprised more authors haven’t pounced on it. Decadence, dalliances, diplomacy . . . honestly, what more can you ask for as “local color!”

    Reply
  46. I don’t really like to cook, but I do like to eat. 😀 My favorite treat is pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I always choose that instead of cake for my birthday in November and I love it when Thanksgiving and Christmas come because that means more pie!

    Reply
  47. I don’t really like to cook, but I do like to eat. 😀 My favorite treat is pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I always choose that instead of cake for my birthday in November and I love it when Thanksgiving and Christmas come because that means more pie!

    Reply
  48. I don’t really like to cook, but I do like to eat. 😀 My favorite treat is pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I always choose that instead of cake for my birthday in November and I love it when Thanksgiving and Christmas come because that means more pie!

    Reply
  49. I don’t really like to cook, but I do like to eat. 😀 My favorite treat is pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I always choose that instead of cake for my birthday in November and I love it when Thanksgiving and Christmas come because that means more pie!

    Reply
  50. I don’t really like to cook, but I do like to eat. 😀 My favorite treat is pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I always choose that instead of cake for my birthday in November and I love it when Thanksgiving and Christmas come because that means more pie!

    Reply
  51. I have to admit I’m not much of a cook but I am a much better baker than a cook. The holidays certainly to inspire me to roll up my sleeves and give it a go though 🙂

    Reply
  52. I have to admit I’m not much of a cook but I am a much better baker than a cook. The holidays certainly to inspire me to roll up my sleeves and give it a go though 🙂

    Reply
  53. I have to admit I’m not much of a cook but I am a much better baker than a cook. The holidays certainly to inspire me to roll up my sleeves and give it a go though 🙂

    Reply
  54. I have to admit I’m not much of a cook but I am a much better baker than a cook. The holidays certainly to inspire me to roll up my sleeves and give it a go though 🙂

    Reply
  55. I have to admit I’m not much of a cook but I am a much better baker than a cook. The holidays certainly to inspire me to roll up my sleeves and give it a go though 🙂

    Reply
  56. Aloha, Cara! Can we eat the chocolates from your hat?!? Love pastries … I perfer to buy them than eat them. Actually, Honolulu has an excellent French bakery, St. Germain’s, across from the city’s prison. Hungry patrons line up for holiday pies no matter who may be lurking around the corner!

    Reply
  57. Aloha, Cara! Can we eat the chocolates from your hat?!? Love pastries … I perfer to buy them than eat them. Actually, Honolulu has an excellent French bakery, St. Germain’s, across from the city’s prison. Hungry patrons line up for holiday pies no matter who may be lurking around the corner!

    Reply
  58. Aloha, Cara! Can we eat the chocolates from your hat?!? Love pastries … I perfer to buy them than eat them. Actually, Honolulu has an excellent French bakery, St. Germain’s, across from the city’s prison. Hungry patrons line up for holiday pies no matter who may be lurking around the corner!

    Reply
  59. Aloha, Cara! Can we eat the chocolates from your hat?!? Love pastries … I perfer to buy them than eat them. Actually, Honolulu has an excellent French bakery, St. Germain’s, across from the city’s prison. Hungry patrons line up for holiday pies no matter who may be lurking around the corner!

    Reply
  60. Aloha, Cara! Can we eat the chocolates from your hat?!? Love pastries … I perfer to buy them than eat them. Actually, Honolulu has an excellent French bakery, St. Germain’s, across from the city’s prison. Hungry patrons line up for holiday pies no matter who may be lurking around the corner!

    Reply
  61. Sounds like a lot of fun! I don’t really have a favorite holiday recipe, but I love Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding on Christmas Day and I always make that when I cook.

    Reply
  62. Sounds like a lot of fun! I don’t really have a favorite holiday recipe, but I love Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding on Christmas Day and I always make that when I cook.

    Reply
  63. Sounds like a lot of fun! I don’t really have a favorite holiday recipe, but I love Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding on Christmas Day and I always make that when I cook.

    Reply
  64. Sounds like a lot of fun! I don’t really have a favorite holiday recipe, but I love Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding on Christmas Day and I always make that when I cook.

    Reply
  65. Sounds like a lot of fun! I don’t really have a favorite holiday recipe, but I love Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding on Christmas Day and I always make that when I cook.

    Reply
  66. I love the idea of spun sugar architecture. It was always my job to ice the Christmas cake when we were growing up. I liked white on white with silver balls best. I haven’t done one for a long time, but now I am inspired. I love to cook for guests and to experiment. Not so keen on day to day meal providing, however.
    Thank you for a great peek into history.

    Reply
  67. I love the idea of spun sugar architecture. It was always my job to ice the Christmas cake when we were growing up. I liked white on white with silver balls best. I haven’t done one for a long time, but now I am inspired. I love to cook for guests and to experiment. Not so keen on day to day meal providing, however.
    Thank you for a great peek into history.

    Reply
  68. I love the idea of spun sugar architecture. It was always my job to ice the Christmas cake when we were growing up. I liked white on white with silver balls best. I haven’t done one for a long time, but now I am inspired. I love to cook for guests and to experiment. Not so keen on day to day meal providing, however.
    Thank you for a great peek into history.

    Reply
  69. I love the idea of spun sugar architecture. It was always my job to ice the Christmas cake when we were growing up. I liked white on white with silver balls best. I haven’t done one for a long time, but now I am inspired. I love to cook for guests and to experiment. Not so keen on day to day meal providing, however.
    Thank you for a great peek into history.

    Reply
  70. I love the idea of spun sugar architecture. It was always my job to ice the Christmas cake when we were growing up. I liked white on white with silver balls best. I haven’t done one for a long time, but now I am inspired. I love to cook for guests and to experiment. Not so keen on day to day meal providing, however.
    Thank you for a great peek into history.

    Reply
  71. My Mom would always make sugar cookies. It was a recipe that sat overnight in the fridge. The you made little balls and pressed them flat with a glass that had red or green sugar on it to make the cookies more festive. But my favorite and when I was young, most mysterious, was a mini meringue. She would color these red or green and sometimes added chocolate chips. The mystery part was, she would put them in the oven overnight. We couldn’t open the oven, but when we got up the next morning they were done! I’m not big on sweets, but these were two of my favorites at holiday time.

    Reply
  72. My Mom would always make sugar cookies. It was a recipe that sat overnight in the fridge. The you made little balls and pressed them flat with a glass that had red or green sugar on it to make the cookies more festive. But my favorite and when I was young, most mysterious, was a mini meringue. She would color these red or green and sometimes added chocolate chips. The mystery part was, she would put them in the oven overnight. We couldn’t open the oven, but when we got up the next morning they were done! I’m not big on sweets, but these were two of my favorites at holiday time.

    Reply
  73. My Mom would always make sugar cookies. It was a recipe that sat overnight in the fridge. The you made little balls and pressed them flat with a glass that had red or green sugar on it to make the cookies more festive. But my favorite and when I was young, most mysterious, was a mini meringue. She would color these red or green and sometimes added chocolate chips. The mystery part was, she would put them in the oven overnight. We couldn’t open the oven, but when we got up the next morning they were done! I’m not big on sweets, but these were two of my favorites at holiday time.

    Reply
  74. My Mom would always make sugar cookies. It was a recipe that sat overnight in the fridge. The you made little balls and pressed them flat with a glass that had red or green sugar on it to make the cookies more festive. But my favorite and when I was young, most mysterious, was a mini meringue. She would color these red or green and sometimes added chocolate chips. The mystery part was, she would put them in the oven overnight. We couldn’t open the oven, but when we got up the next morning they were done! I’m not big on sweets, but these were two of my favorites at holiday time.

    Reply
  75. My Mom would always make sugar cookies. It was a recipe that sat overnight in the fridge. The you made little balls and pressed them flat with a glass that had red or green sugar on it to make the cookies more festive. But my favorite and when I was young, most mysterious, was a mini meringue. She would color these red or green and sometimes added chocolate chips. The mystery part was, she would put them in the oven overnight. We couldn’t open the oven, but when we got up the next morning they were done! I’m not big on sweets, but these were two of my favorites at holiday time.

    Reply
  76. Here’s the recipe.
    1/2 cup shortening
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
    1 egg
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 1/2 tsp ginger
    1/2 tsp each of cloves, nutmug, and allspice
    Cream together shortening, sugar, and molasses. Add egg and mix well. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Add to molasses mixture and mix well. Roll dough into a log (shape isn’t important) and chill in refrigerator for two hours (or overnight).
    Roll out dough on lightly floured board or pastry cloth. Use holiday-shaped cookie cutters to cut dough. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet. Cooke for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F. When the cookies are cool, frost and decorate. (Frosting recipe below.)

    Reply
  77. Here’s the recipe.
    1/2 cup shortening
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
    1 egg
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 1/2 tsp ginger
    1/2 tsp each of cloves, nutmug, and allspice
    Cream together shortening, sugar, and molasses. Add egg and mix well. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Add to molasses mixture and mix well. Roll dough into a log (shape isn’t important) and chill in refrigerator for two hours (or overnight).
    Roll out dough on lightly floured board or pastry cloth. Use holiday-shaped cookie cutters to cut dough. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet. Cooke for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F. When the cookies are cool, frost and decorate. (Frosting recipe below.)

    Reply
  78. Here’s the recipe.
    1/2 cup shortening
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
    1 egg
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 1/2 tsp ginger
    1/2 tsp each of cloves, nutmug, and allspice
    Cream together shortening, sugar, and molasses. Add egg and mix well. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Add to molasses mixture and mix well. Roll dough into a log (shape isn’t important) and chill in refrigerator for two hours (or overnight).
    Roll out dough on lightly floured board or pastry cloth. Use holiday-shaped cookie cutters to cut dough. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet. Cooke for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F. When the cookies are cool, frost and decorate. (Frosting recipe below.)

    Reply
  79. Here’s the recipe.
    1/2 cup shortening
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
    1 egg
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 1/2 tsp ginger
    1/2 tsp each of cloves, nutmug, and allspice
    Cream together shortening, sugar, and molasses. Add egg and mix well. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Add to molasses mixture and mix well. Roll dough into a log (shape isn’t important) and chill in refrigerator for two hours (or overnight).
    Roll out dough on lightly floured board or pastry cloth. Use holiday-shaped cookie cutters to cut dough. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet. Cooke for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F. When the cookies are cool, frost and decorate. (Frosting recipe below.)

    Reply
  80. Here’s the recipe.
    1/2 cup shortening
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
    1 egg
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 1/2 tsp ginger
    1/2 tsp each of cloves, nutmug, and allspice
    Cream together shortening, sugar, and molasses. Add egg and mix well. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Add to molasses mixture and mix well. Roll dough into a log (shape isn’t important) and chill in refrigerator for two hours (or overnight).
    Roll out dough on lightly floured board or pastry cloth. Use holiday-shaped cookie cutters to cut dough. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet. Cooke for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F. When the cookies are cool, frost and decorate. (Frosting recipe below.)

    Reply
  81. The cookie recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies. Here’s the ornamental frosting recipe.
    2-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    2 egg whites
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    Sift together confectioner’s sugar and cream of tartar. Add egg whites and vanilla. Beat until frosting forms stiff peaks and holds its shape.
    Frost cookies, sprinkle with sparkles and enjoy!

    Reply
  82. The cookie recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies. Here’s the ornamental frosting recipe.
    2-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    2 egg whites
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    Sift together confectioner’s sugar and cream of tartar. Add egg whites and vanilla. Beat until frosting forms stiff peaks and holds its shape.
    Frost cookies, sprinkle with sparkles and enjoy!

    Reply
  83. The cookie recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies. Here’s the ornamental frosting recipe.
    2-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    2 egg whites
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    Sift together confectioner’s sugar and cream of tartar. Add egg whites and vanilla. Beat until frosting forms stiff peaks and holds its shape.
    Frost cookies, sprinkle with sparkles and enjoy!

    Reply
  84. The cookie recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies. Here’s the ornamental frosting recipe.
    2-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    2 egg whites
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    Sift together confectioner’s sugar and cream of tartar. Add egg whites and vanilla. Beat until frosting forms stiff peaks and holds its shape.
    Frost cookies, sprinkle with sparkles and enjoy!

    Reply
  85. The cookie recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies. Here’s the ornamental frosting recipe.
    2-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    2 egg whites
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    Sift together confectioner’s sugar and cream of tartar. Add egg whites and vanilla. Beat until frosting forms stiff peaks and holds its shape.
    Frost cookies, sprinkle with sparkles and enjoy!

    Reply
  86. Hi, Cara! What a great historical article, filled with details about my favorite thing…food! Did you know my favorite heroine (or maybe it’s anti-heroine), Catherine de Medici, had quite an impact of French cuisine? It is because of her that France has one of its national treasures…the macaron, which one of Catherine’s chefs brought to Paris when Catherine married Henri d’Orleans.
    I love to cook and bake…here’s something I made by adapting several recipes and adding my own final touches. First, I bake individual orange angel food cakes. Then, I saute ripe bananas in butter, brown sugar and Grand Marnier. Put a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the cake, top with the sauteed bananas, and finish with whipped coconut cream. These are yummy, especially when served in the summertime, out on the patio, under the stars, with a cicada and tree frog serenade.

    Reply
  87. Hi, Cara! What a great historical article, filled with details about my favorite thing…food! Did you know my favorite heroine (or maybe it’s anti-heroine), Catherine de Medici, had quite an impact of French cuisine? It is because of her that France has one of its national treasures…the macaron, which one of Catherine’s chefs brought to Paris when Catherine married Henri d’Orleans.
    I love to cook and bake…here’s something I made by adapting several recipes and adding my own final touches. First, I bake individual orange angel food cakes. Then, I saute ripe bananas in butter, brown sugar and Grand Marnier. Put a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the cake, top with the sauteed bananas, and finish with whipped coconut cream. These are yummy, especially when served in the summertime, out on the patio, under the stars, with a cicada and tree frog serenade.

    Reply
  88. Hi, Cara! What a great historical article, filled with details about my favorite thing…food! Did you know my favorite heroine (or maybe it’s anti-heroine), Catherine de Medici, had quite an impact of French cuisine? It is because of her that France has one of its national treasures…the macaron, which one of Catherine’s chefs brought to Paris when Catherine married Henri d’Orleans.
    I love to cook and bake…here’s something I made by adapting several recipes and adding my own final touches. First, I bake individual orange angel food cakes. Then, I saute ripe bananas in butter, brown sugar and Grand Marnier. Put a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the cake, top with the sauteed bananas, and finish with whipped coconut cream. These are yummy, especially when served in the summertime, out on the patio, under the stars, with a cicada and tree frog serenade.

    Reply
  89. Hi, Cara! What a great historical article, filled with details about my favorite thing…food! Did you know my favorite heroine (or maybe it’s anti-heroine), Catherine de Medici, had quite an impact of French cuisine? It is because of her that France has one of its national treasures…the macaron, which one of Catherine’s chefs brought to Paris when Catherine married Henri d’Orleans.
    I love to cook and bake…here’s something I made by adapting several recipes and adding my own final touches. First, I bake individual orange angel food cakes. Then, I saute ripe bananas in butter, brown sugar and Grand Marnier. Put a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the cake, top with the sauteed bananas, and finish with whipped coconut cream. These are yummy, especially when served in the summertime, out on the patio, under the stars, with a cicada and tree frog serenade.

    Reply
  90. Hi, Cara! What a great historical article, filled with details about my favorite thing…food! Did you know my favorite heroine (or maybe it’s anti-heroine), Catherine de Medici, had quite an impact of French cuisine? It is because of her that France has one of its national treasures…the macaron, which one of Catherine’s chefs brought to Paris when Catherine married Henri d’Orleans.
    I love to cook and bake…here’s something I made by adapting several recipes and adding my own final touches. First, I bake individual orange angel food cakes. Then, I saute ripe bananas in butter, brown sugar and Grand Marnier. Put a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the cake, top with the sauteed bananas, and finish with whipped coconut cream. These are yummy, especially when served in the summertime, out on the patio, under the stars, with a cicada and tree frog serenade.

    Reply
  91. Wow, what an interesting post. I found it all fascinating. I like to cook, but don’t have the time (i’m raising my granddaughter)or space to be really good at it. If I didn’t have to work for a living I could indulge myself. LOL

    Reply
  92. Wow, what an interesting post. I found it all fascinating. I like to cook, but don’t have the time (i’m raising my granddaughter)or space to be really good at it. If I didn’t have to work for a living I could indulge myself. LOL

    Reply
  93. Wow, what an interesting post. I found it all fascinating. I like to cook, but don’t have the time (i’m raising my granddaughter)or space to be really good at it. If I didn’t have to work for a living I could indulge myself. LOL

    Reply
  94. Wow, what an interesting post. I found it all fascinating. I like to cook, but don’t have the time (i’m raising my granddaughter)or space to be really good at it. If I didn’t have to work for a living I could indulge myself. LOL

    Reply
  95. Wow, what an interesting post. I found it all fascinating. I like to cook, but don’t have the time (i’m raising my granddaughter)or space to be really good at it. If I didn’t have to work for a living I could indulge myself. LOL

    Reply
  96. This is a perfect example of what I love about all of you and this blog. I learn the most fascinating historical things :o)
    I make my great gran’s shortbread. Butter, flour, sugar. Three simple things, but it’s the way you work it with your hands and the texture and the baking of it that makes it special. And when you bite it, it just melts in your mouth.
    1-1/4 C sugar
    4-5 C flour
    1 pound real butter (unsalted is better, but salted is fine)
    Place the unwrapped butter on the hearth for half an hour to soften.
    Add your sugar and 3 cups of the flour and knead it in the bowl as you would bread dough.
    As the mixture blends and the sugar begins to melt into the mix, add more flour until you’ve used at least four cups. Keep working the mix until it becomes smooth and shiny. (this is the hard part because it happens in a hurry and if you work it too long, it gets tough)
    Press it into a 9 X 13 glass pan, pierce it to the bottom of the pan, in rows down the length of the pan, every quarter inch and make sure the rows touch.
    Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes then at 325 for 45.
    Cut immediately into 1 X 2 rectangles then sprinkle with colored sugar and let cool.
    EAT!
    (if you don’t cut it immediately, you never will)
    It’s sinful and decadent and melts in your mouth.

    Reply
  97. This is a perfect example of what I love about all of you and this blog. I learn the most fascinating historical things :o)
    I make my great gran’s shortbread. Butter, flour, sugar. Three simple things, but it’s the way you work it with your hands and the texture and the baking of it that makes it special. And when you bite it, it just melts in your mouth.
    1-1/4 C sugar
    4-5 C flour
    1 pound real butter (unsalted is better, but salted is fine)
    Place the unwrapped butter on the hearth for half an hour to soften.
    Add your sugar and 3 cups of the flour and knead it in the bowl as you would bread dough.
    As the mixture blends and the sugar begins to melt into the mix, add more flour until you’ve used at least four cups. Keep working the mix until it becomes smooth and shiny. (this is the hard part because it happens in a hurry and if you work it too long, it gets tough)
    Press it into a 9 X 13 glass pan, pierce it to the bottom of the pan, in rows down the length of the pan, every quarter inch and make sure the rows touch.
    Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes then at 325 for 45.
    Cut immediately into 1 X 2 rectangles then sprinkle with colored sugar and let cool.
    EAT!
    (if you don’t cut it immediately, you never will)
    It’s sinful and decadent and melts in your mouth.

    Reply
  98. This is a perfect example of what I love about all of you and this blog. I learn the most fascinating historical things :o)
    I make my great gran’s shortbread. Butter, flour, sugar. Three simple things, but it’s the way you work it with your hands and the texture and the baking of it that makes it special. And when you bite it, it just melts in your mouth.
    1-1/4 C sugar
    4-5 C flour
    1 pound real butter (unsalted is better, but salted is fine)
    Place the unwrapped butter on the hearth for half an hour to soften.
    Add your sugar and 3 cups of the flour and knead it in the bowl as you would bread dough.
    As the mixture blends and the sugar begins to melt into the mix, add more flour until you’ve used at least four cups. Keep working the mix until it becomes smooth and shiny. (this is the hard part because it happens in a hurry and if you work it too long, it gets tough)
    Press it into a 9 X 13 glass pan, pierce it to the bottom of the pan, in rows down the length of the pan, every quarter inch and make sure the rows touch.
    Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes then at 325 for 45.
    Cut immediately into 1 X 2 rectangles then sprinkle with colored sugar and let cool.
    EAT!
    (if you don’t cut it immediately, you never will)
    It’s sinful and decadent and melts in your mouth.

    Reply
  99. This is a perfect example of what I love about all of you and this blog. I learn the most fascinating historical things :o)
    I make my great gran’s shortbread. Butter, flour, sugar. Three simple things, but it’s the way you work it with your hands and the texture and the baking of it that makes it special. And when you bite it, it just melts in your mouth.
    1-1/4 C sugar
    4-5 C flour
    1 pound real butter (unsalted is better, but salted is fine)
    Place the unwrapped butter on the hearth for half an hour to soften.
    Add your sugar and 3 cups of the flour and knead it in the bowl as you would bread dough.
    As the mixture blends and the sugar begins to melt into the mix, add more flour until you’ve used at least four cups. Keep working the mix until it becomes smooth and shiny. (this is the hard part because it happens in a hurry and if you work it too long, it gets tough)
    Press it into a 9 X 13 glass pan, pierce it to the bottom of the pan, in rows down the length of the pan, every quarter inch and make sure the rows touch.
    Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes then at 325 for 45.
    Cut immediately into 1 X 2 rectangles then sprinkle with colored sugar and let cool.
    EAT!
    (if you don’t cut it immediately, you never will)
    It’s sinful and decadent and melts in your mouth.

    Reply
  100. This is a perfect example of what I love about all of you and this blog. I learn the most fascinating historical things :o)
    I make my great gran’s shortbread. Butter, flour, sugar. Three simple things, but it’s the way you work it with your hands and the texture and the baking of it that makes it special. And when you bite it, it just melts in your mouth.
    1-1/4 C sugar
    4-5 C flour
    1 pound real butter (unsalted is better, but salted is fine)
    Place the unwrapped butter on the hearth for half an hour to soften.
    Add your sugar and 3 cups of the flour and knead it in the bowl as you would bread dough.
    As the mixture blends and the sugar begins to melt into the mix, add more flour until you’ve used at least four cups. Keep working the mix until it becomes smooth and shiny. (this is the hard part because it happens in a hurry and if you work it too long, it gets tough)
    Press it into a 9 X 13 glass pan, pierce it to the bottom of the pan, in rows down the length of the pan, every quarter inch and make sure the rows touch.
    Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes then at 325 for 45.
    Cut immediately into 1 X 2 rectangles then sprinkle with colored sugar and let cool.
    EAT!
    (if you don’t cut it immediately, you never will)
    It’s sinful and decadent and melts in your mouth.

    Reply
  101. Theo, thank you so much for the lovely compliment about the Wenches. We are love history, and enjoy talking about our passion, so it’s wonderful to hear that readers enjoy our little discoveries.
    And thank you for the wonderful recipe—it’s gone into my files and I’m going to try it for the holidays. I have some lovely ceramic shortbread molds that will be perfect!

    Reply
  102. Theo, thank you so much for the lovely compliment about the Wenches. We are love history, and enjoy talking about our passion, so it’s wonderful to hear that readers enjoy our little discoveries.
    And thank you for the wonderful recipe—it’s gone into my files and I’m going to try it for the holidays. I have some lovely ceramic shortbread molds that will be perfect!

    Reply
  103. Theo, thank you so much for the lovely compliment about the Wenches. We are love history, and enjoy talking about our passion, so it’s wonderful to hear that readers enjoy our little discoveries.
    And thank you for the wonderful recipe—it’s gone into my files and I’m going to try it for the holidays. I have some lovely ceramic shortbread molds that will be perfect!

    Reply
  104. Theo, thank you so much for the lovely compliment about the Wenches. We are love history, and enjoy talking about our passion, so it’s wonderful to hear that readers enjoy our little discoveries.
    And thank you for the wonderful recipe—it’s gone into my files and I’m going to try it for the holidays. I have some lovely ceramic shortbread molds that will be perfect!

    Reply
  105. Theo, thank you so much for the lovely compliment about the Wenches. We are love history, and enjoy talking about our passion, so it’s wonderful to hear that readers enjoy our little discoveries.
    And thank you for the wonderful recipe—it’s gone into my files and I’m going to try it for the holidays. I have some lovely ceramic shortbread molds that will be perfect!

    Reply
  106. As long as we’re trading recipes – I don’t do holiday baking anymore, but when I did, I used a killer recipe I got from my sister in law:
    Prudential Cheesecake
    Crust:
    Graham cracker crumbs – 1/4 pound
    Sugar – 2 tablespoons
    Cinnamon – 1 1/2 teaspoons
    Butter (real), melted – 6 tablespoons
    Filling:
    Plain cream cheese – 1 1/2 pounds
    Sugar – 1 cup
    Eggs, well beaten – 3
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Topping:
    Sour cream (real) – 1 pint
    Sugar – 3 tablespoons
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Mix crust ingredients thoroughly. Pat out in a deep pie tin
    Mix filling, blending well
    Pour filling & spread in pie shell
    Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees
    Mix topping & carefully pour over baked pie
    Bake 5 minutes at 500 degrees
    Cool
    Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving
    Serve in slivers – it’s very rich
    Makes one big pie

    Reply
  107. As long as we’re trading recipes – I don’t do holiday baking anymore, but when I did, I used a killer recipe I got from my sister in law:
    Prudential Cheesecake
    Crust:
    Graham cracker crumbs – 1/4 pound
    Sugar – 2 tablespoons
    Cinnamon – 1 1/2 teaspoons
    Butter (real), melted – 6 tablespoons
    Filling:
    Plain cream cheese – 1 1/2 pounds
    Sugar – 1 cup
    Eggs, well beaten – 3
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Topping:
    Sour cream (real) – 1 pint
    Sugar – 3 tablespoons
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Mix crust ingredients thoroughly. Pat out in a deep pie tin
    Mix filling, blending well
    Pour filling & spread in pie shell
    Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees
    Mix topping & carefully pour over baked pie
    Bake 5 minutes at 500 degrees
    Cool
    Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving
    Serve in slivers – it’s very rich
    Makes one big pie

    Reply
  108. As long as we’re trading recipes – I don’t do holiday baking anymore, but when I did, I used a killer recipe I got from my sister in law:
    Prudential Cheesecake
    Crust:
    Graham cracker crumbs – 1/4 pound
    Sugar – 2 tablespoons
    Cinnamon – 1 1/2 teaspoons
    Butter (real), melted – 6 tablespoons
    Filling:
    Plain cream cheese – 1 1/2 pounds
    Sugar – 1 cup
    Eggs, well beaten – 3
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Topping:
    Sour cream (real) – 1 pint
    Sugar – 3 tablespoons
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Mix crust ingredients thoroughly. Pat out in a deep pie tin
    Mix filling, blending well
    Pour filling & spread in pie shell
    Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees
    Mix topping & carefully pour over baked pie
    Bake 5 minutes at 500 degrees
    Cool
    Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving
    Serve in slivers – it’s very rich
    Makes one big pie

    Reply
  109. As long as we’re trading recipes – I don’t do holiday baking anymore, but when I did, I used a killer recipe I got from my sister in law:
    Prudential Cheesecake
    Crust:
    Graham cracker crumbs – 1/4 pound
    Sugar – 2 tablespoons
    Cinnamon – 1 1/2 teaspoons
    Butter (real), melted – 6 tablespoons
    Filling:
    Plain cream cheese – 1 1/2 pounds
    Sugar – 1 cup
    Eggs, well beaten – 3
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Topping:
    Sour cream (real) – 1 pint
    Sugar – 3 tablespoons
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Mix crust ingredients thoroughly. Pat out in a deep pie tin
    Mix filling, blending well
    Pour filling & spread in pie shell
    Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees
    Mix topping & carefully pour over baked pie
    Bake 5 minutes at 500 degrees
    Cool
    Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving
    Serve in slivers – it’s very rich
    Makes one big pie

    Reply
  110. As long as we’re trading recipes – I don’t do holiday baking anymore, but when I did, I used a killer recipe I got from my sister in law:
    Prudential Cheesecake
    Crust:
    Graham cracker crumbs – 1/4 pound
    Sugar – 2 tablespoons
    Cinnamon – 1 1/2 teaspoons
    Butter (real), melted – 6 tablespoons
    Filling:
    Plain cream cheese – 1 1/2 pounds
    Sugar – 1 cup
    Eggs, well beaten – 3
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Topping:
    Sour cream (real) – 1 pint
    Sugar – 3 tablespoons
    Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
    Mix crust ingredients thoroughly. Pat out in a deep pie tin
    Mix filling, blending well
    Pour filling & spread in pie shell
    Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees
    Mix topping & carefully pour over baked pie
    Bake 5 minutes at 500 degrees
    Cool
    Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving
    Serve in slivers – it’s very rich
    Makes one big pie

    Reply
  111. Janet, thanks so much for that delicious tidbit on Catherine. (I love macarons!)
    And your special dessert sounds amazing—even more so when you add in the setting. (Ha—I can tell that I am going to love your writing with descriptions lie that!)

    Reply
  112. Janet, thanks so much for that delicious tidbit on Catherine. (I love macarons!)
    And your special dessert sounds amazing—even more so when you add in the setting. (Ha—I can tell that I am going to love your writing with descriptions lie that!)

    Reply
  113. Janet, thanks so much for that delicious tidbit on Catherine. (I love macarons!)
    And your special dessert sounds amazing—even more so when you add in the setting. (Ha—I can tell that I am going to love your writing with descriptions lie that!)

    Reply
  114. Janet, thanks so much for that delicious tidbit on Catherine. (I love macarons!)
    And your special dessert sounds amazing—even more so when you add in the setting. (Ha—I can tell that I am going to love your writing with descriptions lie that!)

    Reply
  115. Janet, thanks so much for that delicious tidbit on Catherine. (I love macarons!)
    And your special dessert sounds amazing—even more so when you add in the setting. (Ha—I can tell that I am going to love your writing with descriptions lie that!)

    Reply
  116. Cara…you know Catherine came from Italy right? But did you know that in Italy, the macaron was called…wait for it!…macaroni! HA!
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 🙂

    Reply
  117. Cara…you know Catherine came from Italy right? But did you know that in Italy, the macaron was called…wait for it!…macaroni! HA!
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 🙂

    Reply
  118. Cara…you know Catherine came from Italy right? But did you know that in Italy, the macaron was called…wait for it!…macaroni! HA!
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 🙂

    Reply
  119. Cara…you know Catherine came from Italy right? But did you know that in Italy, the macaron was called…wait for it!…macaroni! HA!
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 🙂

    Reply
  120. Cara…you know Catherine came from Italy right? But did you know that in Italy, the macaron was called…wait for it!…macaroni! HA!
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 🙂

    Reply
  121. A fascinating post and an intriguing book. I enjoy baking my favorite treat which is an extremely tasty apple cake with cinnamon, fresh apples and lovely vanilla.

    Reply
  122. A fascinating post and an intriguing book. I enjoy baking my favorite treat which is an extremely tasty apple cake with cinnamon, fresh apples and lovely vanilla.

    Reply
  123. A fascinating post and an intriguing book. I enjoy baking my favorite treat which is an extremely tasty apple cake with cinnamon, fresh apples and lovely vanilla.

    Reply
  124. A fascinating post and an intriguing book. I enjoy baking my favorite treat which is an extremely tasty apple cake with cinnamon, fresh apples and lovely vanilla.

    Reply
  125. A fascinating post and an intriguing book. I enjoy baking my favorite treat which is an extremely tasty apple cake with cinnamon, fresh apples and lovely vanilla.

    Reply
  126. There’s a menu of Careme’s on display in the kitchen at Brighton. As I recall, it’s about nine pages, and sports ingredients like rooster testicles and lark’s tongues. The meal would have been planned for thirty people at a minimum. Maybe the man died of sheer exhaustion…

    Reply
  127. There’s a menu of Careme’s on display in the kitchen at Brighton. As I recall, it’s about nine pages, and sports ingredients like rooster testicles and lark’s tongues. The meal would have been planned for thirty people at a minimum. Maybe the man died of sheer exhaustion…

    Reply
  128. There’s a menu of Careme’s on display in the kitchen at Brighton. As I recall, it’s about nine pages, and sports ingredients like rooster testicles and lark’s tongues. The meal would have been planned for thirty people at a minimum. Maybe the man died of sheer exhaustion…

    Reply
  129. There’s a menu of Careme’s on display in the kitchen at Brighton. As I recall, it’s about nine pages, and sports ingredients like rooster testicles and lark’s tongues. The meal would have been planned for thirty people at a minimum. Maybe the man died of sheer exhaustion…

    Reply
  130. There’s a menu of Careme’s on display in the kitchen at Brighton. As I recall, it’s about nine pages, and sports ingredients like rooster testicles and lark’s tongues. The meal would have been planned for thirty people at a minimum. Maybe the man died of sheer exhaustion…

    Reply

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