|Marie Sprayberry reveals her ultimate ambition|
He was interrupted by a summons to dinner; and the girls smiled on each other. They were not the only objects of Mr. Collins's admiration. The hall, the dining-room, and all its furniture were examined and praised; … The dinner too, in its turn, was highly admired; and he begged to know to which of his fair cousins, the excellence of its cookery was owing. But here he was set right by Mrs. Bennet, who assured him with some asperity that they were very well able to keep a good cook, and that her daughters had nothing to do in the kitchen. Pride and Prejudice chapter 13
Where: Online through Zoom, pre-registration required
In December, A. Marie Sprayberry gives us "An Introduction to Martha Lloyd and Regency Cooking." Who was Martha Lloyd, and why was she so important to Jane Austen? This talk not only answers these questions, but discusses Martha's manuscript Household Book, which is now available in a facsimile edition published by the Bodleian Library. Martha's book provides a glimpse into the many ways Regency-era foodways and food preparation differed from our own--as well as some surprising similarities! The focus is on processes rather than modernized recipes, although sources for such recipes will be provided.
Dinner was an important part of the Regency day. It was a time for families to gather, to show off their wealth and to spar with each other, as Mr. Bennet does with Mr. Collins.
[Mr. Collins] “…I have more than once observed to Lady Catherine that her charming daughter seemed born to be a duchess, and that the most elevated rank, instead of giving her consequence, would be adorned by her. -- These are the kind of little things which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay."
"You judge very properly," said Mr. Bennet, "and it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?"
"They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible."
Mr. Bennet's expectations were fully answered. His cousin was as absurd as he had hoped, and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the same time the most resolute composure of countenance, and, except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring no partner in his pleasure.
Of course, Regency ladies and gentlemen would not have anything to do with the actual preparation of food, as seen in the quote at the top of the page. Nevertheless, food had to be cooked, and we will learn more at our meeting. Please join us on December 11 for Marie's presentation.