FOOD IN THE VICTORIAN ERA by CHERYL WRIGHT

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:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084BVHXTT?tag=pettpist-20

 

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!

 


Bio:

 

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.

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Winnie’s Winner!!

Thanks to everyone who stopped in to discuss jewelry art with me this week. It was such fun having so many of you drop by. I threw all the names in a hat and drew out

ELLIE

Congratulations Ellie. Just email me your mailing info and I’ll get the Book Lover picture on out to you.

Patriotic Fun

Some of you may know, I’m a big fan of rodeos. I have been since I was a little girl because of the 4th of July.

Every summer, the sleepy little town closest to our farm would burst to life for four days with the biggest event of the year – the 4th of July celebration. I can’t even tell you how old I was before I figured out the 4th of July was supposed to represent a single day, not a time of year.

Some towns might go all out for Christmas or Halloween, maybe even Easter. But our small town had the 4th of July. Apparently, going all out for Independence Day is something they’ve done for more than a century.

The four days of fun generally included four nights of rodeo, games and activities in the park, and a parade. Fireworks generally took place  the night of the 4th. There was also a Suicide Race, most often right before the second night of the rodeo.

The town boasted a saddle shop owned by a wonderful, kind man who also tended to enjoy a good joke from time to time. When I was four, my dad took me to Leroy’s shop to get a new belt for the rodeo. I remember walking inside, holding tightly to Daddy’s hand as the rich scent of leather filled my nose.

While Dad and Leroy talked, I wandered around the store, looking at saddles and boots, running my little fingers over the smooth leather of bridles and the rough texture of new ropes. Then I spied the belts. Dad let me pick the one I wanted – a floral stamped leather belt with a silver buckle. On the center of the buckle was a little gold saddle. I still have that belt today and whenever I look at it, I smile, recalling fond memories from both going to town with my dad and going to the rodeo.

Anyway, my family was big into the 4th of July celebration. We usually went to the rodeo at least once, sometimes twice. Quite often one or more of us would be in the parade. My oldest brother and his wife often rode their horses or drove a wagon in the parade. My other brother frequently entered one of his antique cars. I remember one year Mom helped me make an early 1900s costume so I could ride with him. I played In the Good Old Summertime on the piano about fifty times in a row and recorded it on our tape player, then we blasted that from a boom box in the car as we drove down the street (yep, that was back before you could loop songs on your smart phone!).

Back in those days, my oldest brother and one or more of my cousins would ride in the Suicide Race. If you’ve never seen or heard of one, in a nutshell, a group of riders with more courage than I could ever muster race down a harrowing trail to see who makes it to the bottom first. The race starts at the top of a butte with a blast of dynamite and ends in the rodeo arena across the river. It’s a 2-mile course down the hill, across the highway, through the river and into the arena. If a rider makes it off the butte, many of them end up taking a swim in the river.

Eventually my brother stopped racing and his kids took over as competitors. My niece was the first girl to race, starting when she was just 16. She rode five years, and won it twice.

Here you can watch the race from a competitor’s perspective. If you skip ahead to about the two-minute mark, it’s when the race begins.

Thanks to my childhood, I still feel that same excitement when the 4th of July rolls around. Even though we moved away many years ago, I still think back on those holidays with great fondness and nostalgia.

I think that’s why, if I have a book that includes the summer months, I often work in a scene of a parade or rodeo.

One of my favorites is this excerpt from my sweet historical romance, Bertie.

Enjoy an excerpt!

~*~

Bertie smiled and slipped her arm around his, drawing him closer into their rowdy group. Together, they watched the parade. The sheriff served as the grand marshal, flanked by Lars and Kade. They made such a striking duo as they rode their horses down the street, waving to the crowds. Three other deputies rode behind them.

“There’s my daddy! There’s my daddy!” Brett and Ben yelled, joined in their cheers by all of Lars and Marnie’s children.

Bertie giggled when Sophie nearly lurched out of Marnie’s arms, begging to go with her father. “Please, Mama, ride with Daddy. I wanna ride with Daddy!”

“No, Sophie. Not today. You just stay right here with me and watch the parade. Look, see the little pony cart coming? Isn’t he pretty?” Marnie tried to distract her daughter, but the child fussed and squirmed.

Bertie’s mouth fell open when Riley stepped over to Marnie and held out his arms to the child. “Mind if I hold this little sweetheart for a while?”

“Not at all, Riley. Maybe she’ll settle down for you.” Marnie handed over Sophie with an indulgent smile.

Sophie stared up at the man she’d only seen a few times. She leaned back in his arms and studied him. A tiny finger traced down his straight nose, across his cheeks and over his bottom lip. She grinned and sighed, wrapping her little arms around his neck, knocking his hat askew. “I like you.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Miss Sophie. I like you, too.” Riley reached up and straightened his hat, then turned so he once again stood beside Bertie with Sophie perched on his arm. He kept the little girl entertained and engaged during the parade.

Bertie marveled at his ease interacting with the child. He seemed confident, as if he had experience in handling fussy little ones. From past conversations, she knew Riley was an only child. Curious, she wondered where he’d gained his knowledge of keeping a little one content.

Perhaps he was one of those people who just naturally took to children. If so, it made her like him even more.

The “burrrrrooom boom boom boom” sound that Bertie recognized as Nik’s motorcycle rumbled down the street. He appeared riding his bike, followed by a group of bicyclers including several young women wearing bicycle bloomers.

“Looks like Nik finally got his harem,” Tony joked, nudging Garrett with his elbow.

~*~

Just for fun, here are a few patriotic puzzles to enjoy!

 

 

 

And a jigsaw puzzle!

What about you? Do you have any fun memories from 4th of July celebrations, or even summer memories as a child?

Wishing everyone a beautiful weekend full of fun and joy!

Cheryl Wright is Coming!

Australian romance writer Cheryl Wright will soon come around the bend. She’ll arrive Friday, July 1, 2022!

Do you know the foods people in the 1800s cooked? They were very different from today. Head over Friday to learn.

Miss Cheryl is toting two Kindle copies of her newest book MAGGIE!

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on her post. Easy.

This is going to be so much fun. I’m chomping at the bit to learn about food in the 1800s!

Jewelry Art and a Giveaway

Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Today I thought I’d do a post on one of my more recent hobbies – jewelry art.

I first stumbled on this when visiting a small town Texas festival. I walked inside one of the vendor booths and saw all of this beautiful metallic and bejeweled artwork everywhere. There were Christmas pictures that featured trees, wreaths and angels. There were romantic pictures that featured hearts, flowers and gowns. There were message pictures that featured names, occupations and short sayings. Everywhere I looked there was something new to delight the eye and each of them were entirely unique. And what made it even more fun was when I looked closer I could see that each picture was made up of dozens of pieces of jewelry.

I didn’t take pictures that day (and kicked myself for that later!), but if you want to see some examples, you can look HERE and HERE.

My mind immediately went to the box in my dresser where I tossed all of my broken jewelry, the earrings that no longer had matches and the beads and rhinestones that had fallen from their settings. At last! Justification for holding on to all those seemingly useless bits and bobs. And for the costume jewelry I no longer wanted.

The first thing I tried my hand at was a Christmas tree. While it didn’t come out as polished as some of the ones I saw at the festival I think it looks pretty good ?.

I’ve made several others since then but have given them away and don’t have pictures. But I also tried my hand at forming words which resulted in this Book Lover one.

I eventually ran out of jewelry and put the hobby aside. But I still look for inexpensive pieces when I’m in thrift stores or at garage sales and estate sales and am gradually rebuilding my stores. So who knows, I may give it another go soon.

So what do you think? Have you seen examples of this particular craft before? Have you tried it yourself? Would you like to?

I’ll select one person from among those who leave comments to send the Book Lover picture to. (And in the interest of full disclosure there are several glue stains on the backboard)

 

Medicine Hat Horses and a Give Away!

In my upcoming book, Ivy (Love Train Series, Book 7) my hero Darius Jones owns what he refers to as a “paint pony” and “sturdy stock”. The horse’s name is Sammy and he’s what’s known as a Medicine Hat Horse. Why? It all has to do with the horse’s coloring.

Medicine Hat horses are rare and back in the 19th and even into the 20th century, was believed to have special powers. In reality, a Medicine Hat Horse is a pinto with a particular color location. Many people confuse “Paint” and “Pinto” horses. The difference is, Paint horses are a recognized breed. Pinto refers to a coat color pattern that can appear on any breed.

So what’s the color pattern of a Medicine Hat horse? Well, like most pintos their color is patched. A Medicine Hat horse, however, has dark patches mainly on the head and ears (on some it looks like the horse is wearing a bonnet) while the body is mostly white. Sometimes there’s a sprinkle of color on the flanks or belly, but for the most part, it’s the head and ears.

Medicine Hat horses can be any of the usual pinto colors. Black, brown, grey, palomino, roan, or yellow. But the predominant color is white, which is what makes them so rare.

So what about the special powers? Many Native Americans believed that anyone riding a Medicine Hat horse couldn’t be hurt. If one or both eyes were blue, then that was an added bonus and the horse was believed to be even more powerful. These horses were often rode by Medicine Men who were figures of power in most indigenous tribes. 

There’s a lot in Native American History about the medicine man and the Medicine Hat horse. They believed that the medicine man would be protected by the Medicine Hat horse in battle and help him to heal others that were injured.  They also believed that Medicine man and horse could warn others of impending dangers. 

Tribes used to paint symbols on the Medicine Hat horse’s coat. These symbols represented different things. Tribes would use different colors of paint for different symbols. 

 

 

  • A circle around one or both eyes: Generally red in color, this symbol was used for alert vision.
  • A circle around the nostrils: Similar to the circle around the eye, it was believed that a red circle around the nostrils would bring a keener sense of smell.
  • Arrow: A blue, straight arrow was believed to bring victory.
  • Fire arrow: Red and usually painted in a zig-zag pattern would add strength to the warrior while causing trouble for the enemy.
  • Lightning (or thunder) stripes: Usually blue or purple in color, these stripes were believed to please the war gods.
  • Yellow arrowheads: A symbol painted on all four hooves, it would make the horse move swiftly.
  • Hailstones: Blue or purple, these hailstones were more of a prayer for the hail to fall on the enemy.
  • Red cross: A red cross on the horse meant the animal and its rider had escaped an ambush.
  • Horseshoe prints: The number of horseshoe symbols stands for the number of horses the warrior captured during raids.
  • Two green handprints: These symbols on a horse’s chest were used to outline that the horse had knocked down an enemy.
  • One purple upside-down handprint: The most prized symbol a warrior could place on his horse, it designated warriors embarking on do-or-die missions.
  • One blue handprint: Drawn on the horse’s hip, this symbol was reserved solely for horses that have brought their masters home, unharmed after a dangerous mission.

I’ve seen Medicine Hat horses at western horse shows but had no idea of all the history behind their color pattern. It wasn’t until I found a horse for Darius, my hero, that I discovered it. I’m glad I did!

Do you know much about horses? Have you ever owned one? (I’ve owned three) Or, like many, are you a horseless horse lover? I’m giving away a free e-copy of Ivy (Love Train Series, Book 7) to one lucky commenter.

A little more about the book: Ivy Pembrooke has a problem. With her brother gone, she’s now the heir to the Pembrooke fortune and estate. That is, if she lives long enough. After over hearing a plot to kill her, she does what any other heiress would do. She makes a run for it. But how is she going to elude her would be killers and claim what is rightfully hers? Especially when said killer is her uncle? She decides to run now, and figure things out later. In the meantime, she needs a way of escape …

Darius Jones made a promise. Quit the ranch he worked for in Texas, return to Oregon, and take his half-blind mother to Clear Creek. The doctor there was said to work miracles, and Mama needed all the help she could get. But his mother wasn’t the only one. A passenger in the form of a petite, blonde-haired spit fire was going to be the death of him. Literally. Was someone trying to do her harm or was trouble her middle name? Yet there was something about her, and doggone if he didn’t try to help. He just hoped doing so didn’t get them both killed.

Amazon

Garden Fresh Recipes or What To Do with all Your Home-Grown Tomatoes

Howdy!

Welcome to my “Home-Grown,” fresh from the garden recipes.  These are tomato recipes.  Easy catsup recipe and easy spaghetti sauce for meatballs or hamburger recipe.

For years now, my husband and I have bought 100 lbs of tomatoes from a local farmer, but when he stopped planting and selling the tomatoes, we took to gardening ourselves, and last year our small little garden in our backyard got us almost 100 lbs. of tomatoes.

Red ripe tomatoes growing in a greenhouse. Ripe and unripe tomatoes in the background.

So here we go:  What to do with all those tomatoes.

**  We freeze ours.  This requires a large pot of boiling water, a lot of ice and either some plastic bags for storage or mason jars.

** Preparing the tomatoes.  Probably you already know this, but I didn’t and so let me go through the process of getting the tomatoes ready for storage.  You’ll need:  a) a large pot to boil water in; b) a large pan of ice which usually becomes ice water.

Steps:

  1.  Boil the water
  2.  Cut off any bad spots on the tomatoes and them plop them in the boiling water for about 40 seconds to 1 minute only.
  3.  Scoop out the tomatoes and put them at once into the ice water.  Wait a minute or two.
  4.  skin the tomato (the skin comes off easily this way).
  5.  We seed our tomatoes and an easy way to do this is: once the tomato is boiled and then cooled, squeeze the tomato in the middle so the seeds come out the top or bottom.  This is the easiest way I’ve found to seed tomatoes.
  6.  Put the tomatoes in a bag for storage or if you want, you can put them in a blender and blend them for tomato sauce and put them in a mason jar for storage.
  7. Freeze until needed.

Steps for making easy catsup:

  1. Take out a bag of tomatoes — a large enough bag to make 2-3 cups of tomato juice — or –the mason jar of tomato juice
  2.  Defrost the bag of tomatoes or the jar of tomato juice
  3.  Blend the tomatoes if they aren’t already blended and put in a large pot
  4.  Boil the tomatoes and turn the heat down to simmering —
  5.  Then add:
    1.  1/2 – 3/4 cup red or white wine
    2.   1 teaspoon onion powder
    3.   1 teaspoon garlic powder
    4.   1-2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
    5.   1 teaspoon paprika
    6.   1/2 – 1 teaspoon powdered cloves
    7.   1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar
    8.   1 teaspoon salt
    9.   Boil down until it is a consistency you like and also boil 1 or perhaps 2 – 1 pint mason jar(s) for 5 minutes or so
    10.   Let cool in the 1 pint mason jar(s)and refrigerate while still warm and keep it under refrigeration
    11.   Be aware that mold might develop on it if it is kept for longer than a couple of months in the refrigerator.  If so, discard.

Recipe for making easy spaghetti sauce for meatballs or meat sauce from home-grown tomatoes:

  1. Take out a bag of tomatoes — a large enough bag to make 3-4 cups of tomato juice — or — the jar of tomato juice
  2. Defrost the bag of tomatoes or the jar of tomato juice
  3. Blend the tomatoes if they aren’t already blended and put in a large pot
  4. Boil the tomatoes and turn the heat down to simmering —
  5.  Add:
    1. 1 teaspoon sugar
    2.  1 tablespoon basil (dried)
    3.  5 tablespoons butter
    4.  1 teaspoon garlic powder
    5.   Boil down to desired consistency

Boiling down the tomatoes makes it into tomato sauce — I usually don’t boil it down too far because I make this for my grandchildren and they like the taste of the tomatoes straight from the garden and so don’t like it too thick.

Hope you’ll enjoy!

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you freeze, dry or can your produce from your garden?

SHE STEALS MY BREATH:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/She-Steals-Breath-Medicine-Book-ebook/dp/B09TNDS67H/ref=sr_1_1?crid=16FWYIK2CWW9P&keywords=she+steals+my+breath+by+karen+kay&qid=1656284999&sprefix=she+steals+my+breath+by+karen+kay%2Caps%2C62&sr=8&tag=pettpist-20-

 

Regina Walker Has a Winner!

Thank you for visiting, Miss Regina. We had a great time chatting. Come back soon.

It’s time for the drawing…….

Three winners will get the e-book copy of A Maid For Mason! Yee-Haw!

And here are the lucky readers…………

TRUDY C.

DEBRA GUYETTE

                                       SHEILA GRAVELY

Huge Congratulations, Ladies! Watch for Miss Regina’s email and check Spam if you don’t see it.

Regina Walker Insists Genealogy Isn’t Such a Bore After All!

The Fillies give a big welcome to Regina Walker. Regina crafts interesting characters facing some of life’s hardest challenges. Her heart’s desire is to always point toward Jesus through the way her characters face challenges, relationships, and adversity.

Regina is an Oklahoma import, although she was born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado. She likes to curl up on the couch and binge-watch crime shows with her hard-working husband. When she’s not wrestling with a writing project, she can be found wrangling their children, riding their horses, or working around their small hobby farm.

Before I get started, I want to take a moment and thank Karen Witemeyer for so graciously inviting me to write a post for Petticoats and Pistols. I appreciate all of the ladies that run this fun site, and I’m thankful you are here to read this post and the others!

For as long as I can recall, my mother has traced our family history. Sometimes she makes slow progress, occasionally great leaps, but it’s something she has built for years. While her dedication and commitment have always inspired me, I must admit that I thought it was such a boring pursuit.

I listened with half-hearted attention, my mind always wandering to something else. When I decided to take my writing seriously, I swore I would never write historical anything.

See, not only did genealogy bore me endlessly, but history, in general, made my eyes bug out of my head. I know it is important to understand certain aspects of history, but it was never my thing.

When I received a message asking me to join the Mail-Order Mama series, I wrinkled my nose. Historicals and I don’t mix! But I read the premise, and immediately, Mary Ann came to life and started whispering her story to me.

The way she respected and loved her father, the way he cared for their family, and the struggles with her mama all blossomed in my mind.

How could I say no to a story that was writing itself with no help from me?

I did end up helping sort out a few things in this story. I started my research on my mom’s website, reading about real-life people in our family. I selected Wyoming because my great-great-grandfather homesteaded there. The old house, although in terrible disrepair, still stands near Lake De Smet.

I chose to give Mason the last name Barkey to honor my heritage. Although my great-great-grandfather did not order a bride via the mail, it was my way of honoring where I came from to include the last name in this story.

Now, don’t let me fool you. I didn’t become a history buff and I’m not going to take up genealogy the way my sweet mom has. I did gain an appreciation for both history and genealogy that I did not have before.

 

Now that you know a little bit about how I came to write Mary Ann’s story – A Maid for Masonhow about a chance to win an e-book copy of my book? Three lucky winners will be drawn at random for this giveaway. To be entered, leave a comment on whether you’ve ever developed an appreciation for something because of a book you’ve read. 

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for spending a little time with me today.