It’s odd being an author in the respect that you never know when and where your next book idea will come from. I often find my stories while I’m researching another.
Back in 2008 I was working on a book about Victorian women in the Wild West and came across an 1886 book by a woman only known as E.M.H. That book has led me on a journey to tell her story about coming to America as a rich English socialite. Ethel grabbed my attention back then, but then other books were pushed to the front of the deadline pile.
Truth be told, I was offered contracts for other books, where I had none with Ethel. However, I believe things happen when they are supposed to, and now it’s Ethel’s time. I still have no contract for her yet, but I’ve evolved as a writer since I first began in 1997, and think it’s the right time for me to write her story.
So these next blogs will probably be about my struggle or joy to get this written some ten years later.
Since I am passionate about food and beverages in the Victorian West, I’ll try to share a recipe of fun fact with you each time as well. Since I’ve introduced you to Ethel in this one, I’ll share a recipe she served while she was living in Lower Lake, California in 1886.
4 eggs (weigh them in their shells)
Sugar, equal to the weight of the eggs
Butter, equal to the weight of the eggs
Flour, equal to the weight of the eggs
¼ tsp. salt
Jam or marmalade, of any kind
Cream the butter for about five minutes then add the sugar and beat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for 3 minutes. Add the flour and salt and beat for an additional five minutes. Butter a 9” x 9” baking tin and pour in the batter.
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.
Allow to cool on a cake rack. Cut the cake in half and the jam over the bottom of the cake. Place the other half of the cake on top and gently press the pieces together. Cut them into long finger pieces. Pile them in crossbars on a glass dish and serve.
Original recipe adapted from Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management, Isabella Beeton, London. 1874.