by Pen Vogler
From the publisher: Dinner with Dickens celebrates the food of Victorian England by recreating dishes the author wrote about with such gusto, and enjoyed in real life. Food in the novels not only creates character and comedy, but is also a means of highlighting social issues. A grand wedding breakfast skewers ostentation in a wealthy household. A bread-and-butter tea conjures honesty and companionship. The gruel given to hungry children exposes a cruel and unjust regime.
The characters who throng Dickens novels are forever offering one another punch or seed biscuits; arranging a nice little supper of pickled salmon, salad and tea; showing concern with a roast fowl; or sisterly love with a painstakingly made beefsteak pudding. And, of course, there is the great feast of Christmas, celebrated in glorious style even by the impoverished Cratchits. At home, Dickens’ wife Catherine helped him entertain, and published (under a pseudonym) her own book, What Shall We Have for Dinner?, with pages of menus or “bills of fare” for different sizes of party and the changing seasons.
In Dinner with Dickens, Pen Vogler has fully updated recipes from contemporary Victorian cookbooks, including Catherine’s own book. Clear instructions enable you to recreate mutton stuffed with oysters, Betsey Prig’s Twopenny Salad, Dickens’ own recipe for punch, and the Dickens family’s Twelfth Cake. In addition there are features on topics such as Dickens Abroad, Shopping for Food, and Eating Out, with fascinating insights into housekeeping, entertaining, and social history.
Pen Vogler has written about food history for the press and edited Penguin’s Great Food series. She has recreated recipes from the past for BBC television, and she is the author of Dinner with Mr Darcy and Tea with Jane Austen.
Simon & Schuster, 2017