Guest Chicklet–Valerie Bowman

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 couldValerie Bowman author photo hi res 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.

 BIO
Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels aka Racy Regency Romps! Secrets of a Runaway Bride has been named a 4.5 star TOP PICK! by RT Book Reviews. It’s been called “Too Delightful Too Miss!” by New York Times bestselling author, Lisa Kleypas, and New York Times bestselling historical romance author Sarah MacLean says it’s, “Everything a romance should be…once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop!”
Valerie’s debut, SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT, the first in the Secret Brides series from St. Martin’s Press, was nominated by RT Book Reviews for Best Debut Historical for 2012!Valerie has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in history from Smith College. By day, she is a technical editor at a computer software company. By night, she combines her love of writing, history, and romance to craft stories about people falling in love.Originally from Rantoul, Illinois, Valerie lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or watching Downton Abbey and Hoarders and NOT cooking.
You can find Valerie on the web at www.ValerieBowmanBooks.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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34 thoughts on “Guest Chicklet–Valerie Bowman

  1. *Waving at Starcatcher sister* Hi, Valerie! Congratulations on another release. That Regency cooking class sounds fascinating. I especially like the part about ice houses. Funny how that “technology” took forever to change. My grandma called her refrigerator “the icebox” all her life.

  2. Hey Arlene, I grew up calling it an icebox too. I’m not sure how old I was when I learned the difference.

    Valerie, thank you for visiting again today! Secrets of a Runaway Bride is fabulous!

  3. As long as your heroes keep doing salacious things with wine bottles, we’ll never notice an absence of cookery. After all, as my mom often told my dad, “if you wanted a cook, you should have hired one!”

  4. I have one of my grandmother’s old cookbooks that’s dated to the late 1940s. It has directions for gutting and plucking a chicken. I’m very happy to get my chicken already gutted, plucked, and cut up at the supermarket.

  5. Now that I think about it, my grandfather called it the icebox, too. I have a friend who actually *has* an icebox. She gave away a lot of furniture when she moved, and I hoped she’d give up that, but she kept it.

    How fun that there was a regency cooking class. Though I’d probably get grossed out by the gutting descriptions.

  6. Thanks for the interesting post. I always love the story behind the story of how authors research their books. Taking a Regency cooking class sounds like it would be fun but also might make me a little green around the gills when the cooking/storing/plucking/skinning methods were revealed :).

  7. Congratulations on your release, Valerie. I grew up calling it an icebox as well. Though I have managed to avoid actually plucking etc, I have cut up my fair share of chickens. Eating during the Regency period is not far from what we did in Europe as one eats seasonally there.

  8. Jordan’s book! Huzzah! I developed a crush on him in Secrets of a Wedding Night, so I can’t wait to see this! 🙂 Thanks for coming by, Valerie!

    I’m so happy I’m not a Regency cook. I still can’t figure out how my great-grandmother made angel food cake or meringue cookies without an electric mixer. My hands aches, just thinking about it.

    I enjoy cooking but not on the grill, and that’s basically how most Regency cooking happened, I suspect. I’m not into the danger aspect of it like guys are. That happens when you sear off the hair on your arm while trying to start the gas grill. Ugh. Play it safe, QV; for dinner, make reservations. 🙂 Mwah!

  9. I grew up calling it an icebox too. But I don’t anymore. I would imagine it was difficult to get certain ingredients out of season during the Regency period. And also the fact that they had to cook things pretty fast to keep them from going bad since they didn’t have refrigerators. So what fruit items were grown in England back then?

  10. I don’t mind cooking, but it’s much nicer when someone else cooks. LOL The regency cooking course sounds fascinating. I imagine most foods were served hot or at room temperature which I wouldn’t like.

    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

  11. I think I still sometimes call the refrigerator “icebox” — and we do not even make ice cubes in it! Am I right in thinking that the Regency ‘puddings’ would be more cake like than the American soft puddings of today?

  12. Helloooo, Valerie! I’m so glad to finally see you here! *waving* Mega congratulations on your newest release! I absolutely adore the cover. 😀

    Those are two of my favorite shows, too! I can’t wait for Downton Abbey to return – can you believe they killed off Matthew?! 😦 And I don’t mind watching re-runs of Hoarders. I can’t help be but horrified anew every time. :-

      • You can be a Chicklet any time you want! Maybe you should become our restaurant reviewer! lol

        On Matthew…I know! I thought the same thing! I looked over to my husband (he’s had no choice but to watch the show with me since I won’t give up the remote 😉 ) and he just shook his head like “come on, Lis, you’re smarter than that.” *heavysigh*

      • After the servants ate as much as they wanted, the rest was sent out to the poor. Many foods were saveable, though. Soup and stew pots were always kept warm on the hearth and leftovers could be thrown in. That’s how the peas porridge rhyme came to be. 😉

  13. Pingback: My Secrets of a Runaway Bride Blog Tour! Giveaways Aplenty! | Valerie Bowman

  14. Congrats on your latest release, Valerie!!! And I am sooooo thrilled you are putting out the word of Regency cooking. Amen! You’re doing me proud 🙂 And if I can help answer questions with you, let me know! I love this stuff.

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