Deborah Yaffe


By Deborah Yaffe, Feb 25 2016 02:00PM

Toronto, it seems, is a really great place to be a Janeite.

Last year, the local Jane Austen re-enactment community -- as best I can tell, a collaboration between JaneAustenDancing and the York Regency Society -- hosted an all-day gala celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the BBC’s much-loved 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. (Let us pause for a moment to remark upon how cool it must be to live in a place where you can use the phrase “local Jane Austen re-enactment community.”)

This Saturday, the same community is hosting a Jane Austen Midwinter Supper, featuring “a thoroughly researched, beautifully presented and delicious meal reconstructed from Georgian-era recipes.” Dishes include cold poached salmon, fried onions and mince pies. I can’t vouch for the research, but – yum.

Not surprisingly, the event is already sold out, even at a not-inconsiderable $55 per person. So no need to move to Toronto this week. But it’s something to keep in mind.

By Deborah Yaffe, May 26 2014 01:00PM

Perhaps I’d eaten a small lunch on the day I ran across Dining with Jane Austen, Julienne Gehrer’s online account of her research into foods Jane Austen, or her characters, might have eaten. In any case, my nuanced critical judgment could be summed up in a single word: yum.

Scroll down for pictures of an open-face toasted cheese sandwich to die for, as well as some pretty good-looking frittery things. Isn't your mouth watering just a little? And apparently more is coming, since Gehrer hopes to publish her work two years from now, in time for the bicentennial of Emma.

No, of course we don’t want to live in 1812, but there were some compensations for the corsets, the deaths from now-preventable diseases and the severely constricted options for women. Toasted cheese!

By Deborah Yaffe, Nov 25 2013 02:00PM

I ate so much terrible British food during the two years I studied in England – I can’t think of my Oxford college’s rendition of moussaka without shuddering – that I’ve never had much hankering to eat like Jane Austen.

But this recent article by Pen Vogler, the author of a new Austen-themed cookbook, Dinner with Mr. Darcy, inclines me to change my mind. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is in the air, but all the talk of roast venison, scalloped oysters, dried cherries and apple pies got my mouth watering.

Vogler’s book is by no means the first effort at bringing the all-powerful Austen brand to the lucrative foodie market. I’m aware of three others – The Jane Austen Cookbook, by Maggie Black & Deirdre LeFaye; Cooking with Jane Austen, by Kirstin Olsen; and Tea with Jane Austen, by Kim Wilson – and there may well be more. None graces the cookbook shelf in my kitchen, but perhaps I should expand my horizons.

After all, none of them is likely to include a moussaka recipe.

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