I’m so excited to have Ms. Valerie Bowman joining us as today’s Guest Chick. She’s an amazing author who writes stories that are Racy Regency Romps. Her books are romantic, fun and top picks with RT. But we’re a foodie blog here, so in the interest of great food and great book, I’ll turn it over to Valerie!
As most of the members of Chicklets in the Kitchen know (along with practically anyone who’s ever met me) I don’t cook. At all. Seriously. I can pour a bowl of cereal. I can heat some soup. I could probably manage to boil an egg if it came down to it (and my internet access was working so I could google it). But yeah, that’s about it. Am I proud of this fact? No. Not particularly. Cooking is simply not a skill I ever felt compelled to master. After all, there are plenty of people out there who LOVE cooking and will do it for you, if you pay them. And there are these fantastic places called restaurants who will serve you whatever you like.
So, why am I visiting the Chicklets in the Kitchen if I only go into my kitchen to look for the scissors upon occasion? Well, it turns out, as an author, I may not cook anything, but some of my characters do. How, then, do I fake it? Especially since I write about a time period when things like turtle soup and tureens of turbot were popular?
I may not be a cook, myself, but I was smart enough to take a class in Regency cuisine by the fabulous trained chef and historical romance author Delilah Marvelle. Delilah offered a class recently for the Beau Monde (a chapter of Romance Writers of America®) entitled The Regency Culinary World. And I took notes!
As you can imagine, cooking during the Regency was no easy feat. There were no microwaves or even freezers and the cooking utensils were rudimentary at best, compared to today’s Williams-Sonoma fabulosity.
During the Regency, food was prepared by skinning and gutting animals (given to the cooks by the gameskeepers of large estates), collecting vegetables and herbs from the garden, and adding a bit of sugar purchased from town. Ice houses were built underground to keep things cool and breads were baked in brick ovens.
The cooks of the Regency era adored puddings, soups, sauces, and tarts. There were lots of pastries and pies, a great deal of butter used, and all food had to be prepared as fresh as possible (read, chickens were killed the day they were to be served) because of the lack of preservation techniques including refrigeration.
The good news for me is that most of my characters are busy eating these meals, not actually cooking them. So I’m able to do a bit of research on what might be presented in a Regency dining room, sprinkle in a few words like pie, tart, and tureen, and go merrily along my way with the story with my reader being none the wiser that I don’t know a soufflé from a quiche.
But let’s just keep that our little secret.
Do you have any questions about cooking during the Regency? Ask them here and if I don’t know, I can find you the answer! ONE lucky commenter will win a copy of Secrets of a Runaway Bride!
THE THRILL OF ESCAPE
Miss Annie Andrews is finally free to marry the man she loves. With her overprotective sister out of the country on her honeymoon, nothing can prevent her flight to Gretna Greene—nothing, that is, but an abduction by the wrong gentleman.
THE SWEETNESS OF SURRENDER
When Jordan Holloway, the Earl of Ashbourne, promised to look after his best friend’s sister-in-law, he didn’t realize she would prove so difficult. But when he spirits her away to his country house to prevent her elopement, he discovers that the tempting beauty knows how to put up a fight. To make matters worse, he’s stuck playing the role of honorable protector…when what he really wants is to run away with her himself.