I am reading my way through the Penguins Great Food set that I received for Christmas and so I just finished Hannah Glasse’s contribution to the set, Everlasting Syllabub and the Art of Carving. I am finding these historical food reads fascinating and this one is no different. Interesting comments in many of the chapters are entertaining and give a hint to the attitudes and dry wit of Hannah Glasse. The opening note, To the Reader, sets out Mrs. Glasse’s intention for her writing and sets the tone that continues througout the text. An example at the beginning of Chapter III: Boiling and Dressing:
That professed cooks will find fault with me for touching upon a branch of Cookery which they never thought worth their notice, is what I expect: however, this I know, is is the most necessary part of it; and few servants there are that know how to boil and dress to perfection.
The detailed instruction in making everything from Mead, to Mushroom powder, to Everlasting Syllabub and to choosing all varieties of meats, poultry and fish gives me an appreciation for the work and effort that went into cooking and feeding a family in the days before supermarkets, take outs, and all the modern appliances. Intriguing picture of everyday life in the mid 1700s and a very worthwhile read for anyone interested in food history or historical documentation of life in those times.
Deadly Night by Christine Green is a new-to-me series but it is actually book 8 in the Kate Kinsella mystery series. I don’t know how I missed this one! The character of Kate and her relationship with Hubert is engaging and interesting in the way a non-romantic male-female relationship can be. The sense of place is well developed and I could picture the locations and had a very good sense of the geography even though I jumped into this series in the middle. The mystery is well crafted with red herrings that are not too heavy handed. The mystery and the crimes are dark however it is not a graphic mystery, I would probably put it on mystery spectrum in the soft-boiled range. I am definitely going to be reading more in this series and am very happy to have discovered it.
Tragic Toppings is the 5th book in Jessica Beck’s A Donut Shop Mystery series. I have been reading this mystery series for a while and I am really enjoying it. I like the main character Suzanne Hart and her friends and the recurring characters, George, Emma, Jake and Grace. Each of the characters is well drawn and fully fleshed out. More importantly, each has a purpose in Suzanne’s life and in the plot. There are also interesting side plots going on in this book including, Suzanne’s mother dating, Suzanne still seeing Jake, and Max, Suzanne’s ex-husband, causing his own drama in town. The mystery is well done and the resolution is dramatic. Tragic Toppings is proof that cozy mystery series can continue and get better over time. Recommended read for cozy mystery fans.