I don’t know about you, but I love to bake.
I hate cooking meals with a vengeance. But baking is something I love, and do well, and include in most of my books.
When I was very young, no more than eight, I began to bake. My parents were both into cooking, as well as my grandfather. He had a wood stove, and taught me to bake on it. That was over fifty years ago, and unfortunately, he is long gone. Home cooking was big in the Victorian era since takeaway food did not exist.
I write historical small town romance, and most small towns of that era had stores such as bakeries, diners, cake shops and even candy stores. I have featured all of these in my books, but also have my homebody heroines baking as well.
For me, baking and cooking is part of normal life, and so it is for my heroines. As a young mother, I would spend one day a week making bread, pies, cookies, and other delicacies. All made from scratch, and by hand. (No machines involved.) This has given me the knowledge needed when writing my westerns. In turn, it helps make the stories more realistic and believable.
I’m extremely lucky that I was gifted recipes passed down through generations of both sides of the family. I have a wedding cake recipe that has served generations, and also doubles as a Christmas cake. I have pastry recipes that put frozen pastries to shame, and are relatively easy to make.
Soups were a mainstay for many of our pioneers, especially those with little money. Vegetables were mostly home-grown, and stock taken from other foods they cooked. Even gravy was made differently from how we make it today; they used the juices of roast meat combined with flour, and cooked on the stove until thick.
Even today, I make recipes that were used over fifty years ago – my daughter uses many of them as well. It is very satisfying to make food from scratch, even if it is sometimes more time consuming than buying packet foods. Our ancestors didn’t have such luxury afforded to them, and I often wonder how they coped without the appliances we use today.
All these years down the track, I can still recall my grandmother whipping cream using only a fork. We had an electric mixer, but she refused to use it, since she’d always made it without one.
My heroines are tough – they had to be, being born into the Victorian era was not an easy task. In A Bride for Noah, (Book One, Brides of Broken Arrow), the heroine has come from a life of poverty. I created that character on a great-aunt from my childhood. Her husband was a goldminer, their home had a dirt floor, and they had very little, but she made the most of what was afforded to her.
Okay… onto the fun stuff!
As a special treat, I am offering readers of this blog, a copy of my personal collection of Christmas recipes at absolutely no charge. Nor will you be asked to join my newsletter.
Download your free copy here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/dlwj4wgbcq
If you wish to join my newsletter and grab your complimentary copy of Miserable in Montana, you can do that here: https://cheryl-wright.com/newsletter/
Keeping within the theme of cooking in the Victorian era, you may be interested in my current series, Brides of Montana. You can check out the series here:
Contest: I am giving a way a kindle copy of Maggie, Book Four, Brides of Montana (released only days ago) to two lucky readers. To be in the draw, please leave a comment mentioning a food that might have been consumed in the Victorian era.
Thank you for having me, and good luck in the competition!
Award-winning and best-selling Australian author, Cheryl Wright, former secretary, debt collector, account manager, writing instructor, and shopping tour hostess, loves reading. She writes historical and contemporary western romance, and has over fifty published books.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia, and is married with two adult children and has six adult grandchildren. When she’s not writing, she can be found in her craft room making greeting cards.