I am a Victorianist with an immensely sweet tooth. I also believe that these two things can go hand in hand, and so in this blog, I will devour the sweet treats of the Victorian era.
We frequently see food represented in that time as absent: think of Jane Eyre struggling through country ditches at night, hysterically starving, and Gaskell's Mary Barton, with the working class fighting for money and food. These images contrast to Alice with her wonderland dreams, fittingly initiated by an EAT ME currant-cake. Her dream has pebbles that turn to edible cakes, a mad hatter's tea party and a judicial trial of missing jam tarts. The very fact that Lewis Carroll's story fantasizes about these food draws attention to how obtaining these foods is actually an impossibility; children only dreamt of a spread of sweet treats like that.
Desserts are undeniably married to comfort and pleasure. Cinnamon-apple crumble and custard warms us after a winter family meal, and a frozen lemon sorbet melts in our mouths on a summer afternoon. The speciality of desserts is the focus here, and what may appear as a simple food item in a novel may actually represent a whole lot more: I will explore to what extent desserts in the literature of the 19th century are synonymous with a domestic and homely setting and the effect they have on the characters in the novels and you, the reader...
I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I will enjoy making, baking and recreating your treats!