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December 2012: Feasts & Celebrations in Literature

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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Vanessa
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Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Tue December 11th, 2012, 10:56 am

I have a couple of books on my TBR pile which are set during our current queen's silver jubilee and golden jubilee:

Jubilee by Shelley Harris

Jubilee by Eliza Graham

I can't think of any historical fiction which I've read which feature any monarch's jubilee.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

J.D. Oswald
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Joined: May 2012

Post by J.D. Oswald » Sun December 16th, 2012, 9:41 pm

I picked up a book called A Hampshire Christmas compiled by Sara Tiller in a second-hand bookshop, an anthology of seasonal memories. A few foody extracts:
The Christmas Wassail Bowl, at one time offered to carol singers - strong ale, the froth of roasted apples, cloves, cinnamon, and a grate of nutmeg, ginger and brown sugar.
Frumenty, a dish once served in old farmhouses for breakfast at Christmas time - One dish of crushed whole wheat, sugar, spice, and raisins and skimmed new milk, simmered in a jar in the oven, or at the back of the stove overnight, and eaten hot or cold.

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EC2
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Location: Nottingham UK
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Post by EC2 » Sun December 16th, 2012, 9:54 pm

[quote=""Madeleine""]Netherwood by Jane Sanderson has lots of food descriptions, as the main character starts up a pie business and ends up cooking for the family at the Big House - it has some recipes at the back too.[/quote]

Oh yes, I can recommend that one - lots of delicious descriptions. I know Jane and she told me some of her dishes were inspired by the Marks and Spencers mini party food ranges!

I recently read John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk and was blown away by the prose and the food descriptions. I'd highly recommend it. It has a sort of Nigella Lawson turn of phrase to the descriptions, but being as I love Nigella's writing and read it for fun, that's no bad thing. In fact, although it is non fiction, Nigella Lawson's 'Feast' is a terrific read.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Antoine Vanner
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Joined: October 2012
Location: South-East England

Beware of Frumenty!!!

Post by Antoine Vanner » Mon December 17th, 2012, 3:16 pm

[quote=""J.D. Oswald""]I picked up a book called A Hampshire Christmas compiled by Sara Tiller in a second-hand bookshop, an anthology of seasonal memories. A few foody extracts:
The Christmas Wassail Bowl, at one time offered to carol singers - strong ale, the froth of roasted apples, cloves, cinnamon, and a grate of nutmeg, ginger and brown sugar.
Frumenty, a dish once served in old farmhouses for breakfast at Christmas time - One dish of crushed whole wheat, sugar, spice, and raisins and skimmed new milk, simmered in a jar in the oven, or at the back of the stove overnight, and eaten hot or cold.[/quote]

Treat Frumenty with great caution - just remember the unhappiness unleashed when the sinister old Frumenty Woman added spirits to the glass of it she served to Michael Henchard, the later Mayor of Casterbridge! Untold misery would have been avoided if Henchard had not indulged his taste for Frumenty and Thomas Hardy would have had to look elsewhere for an equally depressing plot!

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Ludmilla
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Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Mon December 17th, 2012, 3:33 pm

Another possible topic for conversation is the English country house party (I would think especially with the popularity of shows like Downton Abbey). These pop up a lot in historical romances. It's harder for me to think of examples from general fiction historicals, but I'm sure there are plenty of them.

annis
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Post by annis » Mon December 17th, 2012, 5:19 pm

A country house party post-WWI is the subject of Martin Davies' novel The Year After. Memories of past such occasions in happier times infuse the story with a haunting melancholy, as the survivng members of a group of old friends gather to see in the 20th century and wonder how much they really knew each other in that distant pre-war life.

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