This cookbook is many things rolled into one, but four themes stand out: forgotten gems, a gathering of time travelers, culture appreciation, and sheer joy. There are cooks among us who would like to please an audience with a dish that they haven’t had before, and that is surprisingly tasty. For that purpose, an excellent place to look for ideas is among the classic dishes of another century. It is time for some of those forgotten gems to roll around as “new.” This cookbook grew out of research for my seven historical novels. The characters in those novels have very definite preferences and favorite dishes. To create a narrative for this cookbook, about two dozen characters are brought to the same table to describe what they like. The recipes for their favorite dishes are included in the back two-thirds of this book. Note that the characters did not live contemporaneously, but are brought together anyway, as a gathering of time travelers, to compare notes. It is well recognized that our culinary history is a very important part of our culture. This cookbook is a contribution to our culture appreciation, awareness, and preservation. Recipes presented here are fully authentic from the period, complete with the old original spelling and phrasing. Sheer joy. There is a great deal of fun and good-natured humor to be had by comparing the way we think, speak, and eat to our ancestors of the 18th and 19th centuries. Yes, much of it is laughable, but don’t be surprised to occasionally catch an insight from the past that is fully apropos to the present.
A Novel Victorian Cookbook: Forgotten Gems is a magnificent work of history and art. The details about the lives of Victorian chefs and cooks are presented in an interesting and clever way. Carol Kennedy uses delightful characters from her seven novels to introduce us to a variety of recipes from many Victorian cookbooks that are still used today. Descriptions of the cookbooks, kitchens, and gadgets give the reader an authentic look into what life was like for kitchen staff at the time. Interaction with novel characters gives us a glimpse of life for the middle-upper class and royalty. This cookbook will make a great addition to an existing cookbook collection.