At the beginning of February (over a skype conference call), we decided to start writing some co-edited themed blog entries. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it seemed fitting that for our first co-edited blog we should bake a dessert for our respective partners from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management – lucky them!
Mrs Beeton was- and continues to be- a familiar name. However, the image of a stuffy and bossy matriarch was far from the truth. Isabella Beeton was only twenty-one when she began writing her book, Household Management. Initially published in 26 magazine installments, Household Management would become a sacred text for any Victorian middle-class housewife. In the book, Mrs Beeton offered advice on manners, economy, illness, fashion and house husbandry. She is probably best remembered, though, for her recipes. Together with her maid, Mrs Beeton tested all 900 dishes that form the bulk of the book. She died at the age of 28 not knowing the massive impact that her book would have. She left us with a wonderful text through which to experience the Victorian ‘tastescape. We might never be able to sit down to have supper with the Victorians we study, but we can at least, through Mrs Beeton’s Book of House Management, fill our bellies with some of their sweet and yummy puddings.
We were all very excited by this task and we hope that you enjoy reading about our adventures!