Tuesday, November 24, 2015

An Appetite for Violets

That's how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you're invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. A writing desk lies open and you cannot help but read a paper. Then you find something, something you should not have found. Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, under-cook at the foreboding Mawton Hall, only wants to marry her childhood sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries the young Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up in a world of scheming, secrets and lies. Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, Biddy takes with her an old household book of recipes, The Cook's Jewel, in which she records her observations. When she finds herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, Biddy realises that the secrets she holds could be the key to her survival - or her downfall ..
"For now I am loved, I am as whole as two half sugar globes spun back together as one.
— Martine Bailey, An Appetite for Violets
When I researched Georgian Cookery on Ivan Day’s course at his farm in Cumbria (www.historicfood.com), I was thrilled to find a glut of the golden fruits in a kitchen complete with a bright fire, spits and lots of complicated ironwork. “Taffety Tart” was on the menu, a British confection that Biddy Leigh, the heroine of my novel AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS, bakes with “white fleshed pippins, pink quince, and a cinnamon stick that smelled like a breeze from the Indies.” I knew at once that Biddy should begin her gastronomic journey with the homely British challenge of turning a glut of glorious autumn fruit into a delicious tart. British food didn’t always receive a bad press; in the 1690s even a Frenchman, Monsieur Misson, praised the variety of puddings: “To come in Pudding Time is as much as to say, to come in the most lucky moment in the World.”

And you think you've got it bad? Oh..let this story take you to another world. Its a social history and yet there is such an intriguing mystery to this book. Its definitely a keeper to get you through the holidays!


cat eyes & skinny jeans said...

I love the idea of an underlying mystery - my favorite!


Sara-h Jane said...

Sounds pretty cool!