Chris Kimball is a chef and magazine editor and owner of a Victorian era home in Boston. After researching the Boston Cooking School and Fannie Farmer, he decided to undertake the creation of a meal that perfectly replicated the common foods, cooking methods and style of turn-of-the-century urban America.
He had help, of course, but cooked a beautiful meal on a wood-burning iron stove in a steaming hot kitchen - so hot that the chef's pants melted onto her legs. I thought this entire book was fascinating - and (for the truly adventurous) it includes recipes.
They made a mock turtle soup which involved making stock from a calf's head. Calf's hooves were boiled to create gelatin (a bit disgusting) but the product is gorgeous.
Apparently formal Victorian meals involved as many as 12 courses served in two hours or less. As many as 131 pieces of silverware were used for each person for each meal. The silver covered dishes we see in formal settings were useful as Victorian diners did not want any smells coming from the kitchen. Because of this, the kitchen was set far back from the dining room and food needed to be carried down long drafty hallways...thus the covered dishes.
You will enjoy his careful research and the trials and tribulations of recreating the past. They filmed this as a television special. Also interesting is the study of Fannie Farmer herself, who was a rather practical version of Julia Child - a woman who knew how to cook, teach, and market herself.
As a faithful watcher of Downton Abbey, I found this book often making me think about those formal dinners at Downton. I know you will love it.
To enter to win - just leave a comment! I will choose one person and send you the book!