ATG Quirkies: Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook

by | Jul 13, 2021 | 0 comments

Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook appears in Gastro Obscura and is by Reina Gattuso who is a contributing writer to that publication.

“A KIND-HEARTED SPINSTER, PASSED OVER in her youth by a potential suitor, spends her life faithfully tending the hearth and home of her dear family and friends. She is content to toil as a housekeeper, unrecognized but for the praise of beloved companions. All the while, she keeps a detailed household book of handwritten recipes, from carraway cake to currant wine, that her family loves. Virtue is rewarded when, at 63 years of age, the loyal spinster weds the widower brother of her dearest friend, who is subsequently knighted, making her Lady of a great house. Nearly 200 years later, an academic press publishes her book of household recipes, thereby inscribing the humble homemaker into the echelons of literary fame.

This isn’t a plot from a Jane Austen novel—it’s part of the history of the Austen family. Born to a vicar in Wiltshire, Martha Lloyd was 10 years older than Jane Austen, but became fast friends with teenage Jane and her sister Cassandra, and later relatives through marriage. “It was a matter of months until Jane was dedicating one of her juvenile works to Martha,” says Julienne Gehrer, a former editorial director at Hallmark cards who is now an independent Austen scholar.

“In 1806, following the death of both Mr. Austen and Mr. Lloyd, Jane, Martha Lloyd, Jane’s sister Cassandra, and Jane’s mother formed a household together. Jane and Martha had already either refused or been heartbroken by multiple suitors, so they formed a household with sisterhood at the core. They eventually settled at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire, a medium-sized cottage on the grounds of brother Edward Austen’s large manor. Now home to the Jane Austen museum, Chawton Cottage is where Jane either wrote or revised all six of her published novels. It’s also where, for decades, Jane’s beloved friend and relative Martha Lloyd created her household book, a record of the family’s favorite recipes gleaned from published cookbooks and friends…”

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