The Campaign for Domestic Happiness – Isabella Beeton (1861) – Part Two

book309This is the second part of my review about the Penguin Great Foods’ Beeton entry. Part One is here.


  • “The dessert certainly repays [for time and cost] in its general effect, the expenditure upon it of much pains, and it may be said, that, if there be any poetry at all in meals…there is poetry in dessert.” (Hear, hear.)
  • Re: garnishes: The ice-plant (literally a frozen plant with iced plants) is the best garnish to use as its “crystallized dew drops [produce] a marvelous effect in the height of summer”. (Advice duly noted and will be implemented at tonight’s supper although my plant might be a bit droopy as it’s not been in the fridge freezing…)
  • And then this (which, of course, is TRUE): “chocolate in different forms is indispensable to our desserts…”
  • One of the highly recommended puddings (i.e. dessert in U.S. talk) is Arrowroot Blancmange or perhaps Tipsy Cake which, as far as I can tell, is an old cake with a hole cut in the middle in which one pours loads of sherry and brandy, let it soak, and then covers with custard and almonds.

Tea and Coffee:


(Note: The books in the Penguin Great Food Series have cover designs that are all based on real china service designs of the period appropriate to when the book was first published. Cool idea, methinks.)

  • “We think it highly probable…that the instinct of man…has discovered in these [drinks] the true means of giving to his food the desired and necessary quality…”
  • If you’re stuck, a good substitute for cream/milk in tea/coffee is this: “Add one new-laid egg beaten and added gradually to drink to prevent curdling.” (YUCK.)
  • Green tea: “Strong green tea is highly pernicious, and should never be partaken of too freely…” (Watch out, Starbucks customers… Plus re: image above: Digestive biccies prob. not around but yum all the same.)

And if you happen to be ill, here is what Beeton recommends. (My suggestion is that you run (or limp) very far away as fast as you can rather than have this.)

Invalid Jelly: 12 shanks of mutton, 1 lb lean beef, 3 quarts of water, 3 blades of mace (herb), an onion and toasted bread crusts. Boil the shanks, add the beef, and simmer for five hours. Strain the broth, and when it’s cold, take off all the fat. This is eaten either warm or cold. (Ugh. The threat of this would cause me to deny any and all illnesses whatsoever.) 🙂

This was a fun read and reminds me to be very grateful that I’m not forced to endure Victorian era meals and food.

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