On January 15th, even Chandler, Arizona can be chilly. It was fun to see everyone in our wintry wear, ready to settle in a cozy room full of friends and chat about this delightful story–Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson.
Fans of the Regency period will be happy to learn that the story is set in 1816 England. I won’t disclose the plot; I’d feel dreadful if I cheated someone out of the enchanting experience of uncovering it on her own.
So, let’s see what goodies we had!
I had spent several cheery, messy hours in the kitchen, determined to offer healthier treats than I have in the past. With my apron about me, grinding grains, I felt very 19th century. (My grinder is electric, though. Yea!)
My multi-grain chocolate chip cookies (made with oat groats, brown sweet rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa) probably startled the palate of some of my guests. I adore them, but I agree that they have a unique flavor.
My spelt bread was more popular.
Choices, choices. Jam… honey… or just butter to top it off?
And then there was the Fluffy Orange Fruit Dip from my Our Best Bites cookbook. Mmmmmmm……
I hoped the decor would remind my friends of specific book scenes and add an air of early 19th-century England.
The preservation of food in glass jars began in this era with a discovery by Nicolas Appert. He was rewarded for it in 1810. Major improvements to the system were made in 1858 by John Landis Mason, and in 1915 by Alexander Kerr.
If I’d had a 200-year-old-looking tin can, I would have mentioned more about Peter Durand also.
We didn’t discuss canning at book club; that’s a snippet of historical trivia just for you.
Colored glass bottles rather like those below were commonly used at the time. The green bottle’s lightning closure would not be invented til the 1870’s, and the screw cap even later.
Now you’ll see where I got really crazy.
Timid at first, but determined, I set out to do a little embroidery. But then, all it took was the help of Youtube (hooray for that!) and about 10 minutes on the clock, and I knew how to make a couple of easy stitches.
Next, I stamped an image four times on a scrap of muslin. I simply stitched over the design while my family and I caught some t.v. together!
I declare… I only need an Empire dress and a Spencer jacket, and you’ll wonder if I’m an 1800’s book heroine come to life!
As much as I love photography, I really do love people even more.
I want to experience book club, and not be a terrible hostess. That means I have to make myself put down the camera as we share our favorite story moments or analyze the author’s thought process.
So, I take posy-looking photos before the official start, and just before people return home.
The next morning, with the house streaming in sunlight, I get out my tripod and go hog wild! I can shoot strawberries a hundred times and not one of them will go away. Unless I eat it.
Hey… here’s a candid shot of two women actually talking to each other, as we put coats and scarves back on and said our adieus.
One last look at the book cover and two more happy smiles!
Have a charming day as you enjoy the many inventions of our lovely era.