Eat Like Jane Austen With These Recipes From Her Sister-in-Law’s Cookbook

Jane Austen, thinking about toasted cheese.
Jane Austen, thinking about toasted cheese. / GraphicaArtis/Getty Images
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In 1809, Jane Austen moved to Chawton House in Hampshire, UK, with her mother, her sister Cassandra, and a family friend named Martha Lloyd. During her eight years there, Austen finished all six of her acclaimed novels.

Meanwhile, Lloyd was producing a work of a different kind: a “household book,” full of recipes for meals and also homemade solutions like table varnish. Others include a mixture “to clean gilt things” and one “to clean white silk stockings.” There are even directions to make ink from oak tree galls and beer.

The food recipes, or “receipts,” as the women often called them, give us an idea of what likely fueled Austen while she penned Emma and her other beloved stories: simple, hearty dishes like “hogs puddings,” “cabbage pudding,” “vegetable pie,” and her favorite “toasted cheese.” White soup makes an appearance, too, which Pride and Prejudice fans can appreciate. The book also reveals the social aspect of swapping recipes—beside instructions for fruit preserves, a friend scrawled “Good luck to your jamming!”

Overall, Lloyd’s household book, which she wrote over three decades, offers fascinating insight into what life was like at Chawton House. It also serves as a testament to her close bond with the Austens. As Southern Living reports, she actually ended up marrying Jane’s brother, Sir Francis Austen, in 1828. Francis’s first wife had died, and Jane herself had passed away back in 1817.

Lloyd’s actual household book is still in Chawton House, now a museum called Jane Austen’s House. But an annotated, full-color edition will be released this July 22. If you’d like to try your hand at making oak tree ink and sampling white soup for yourself, you can pre-order it from Amazon here.

Don't you want to try hogs puddings?
Don't you want to try hogs puddings? / Amazon

[h/t Southern Living]