Torments of Rice Pudding

February 1, 2008


The Jane hits just keep on coming! Last night, to close out Jane-uary, the Waldo Community Library graciously hosted over 80 people for “The Torments of Rice Pudding and Apple Dumplings.” Don’t be alarmed. It’s not as academic as it sounds. Sheryl Craig presented a detailed and scrumptious program on the food in Jane Austen‘s novels. Not willing to leave us with that, she also discussed the methods and manners of dining in Jane Austen’s time.

Interesting tidbits to come out of the evening’s tea-laced and tart-graced conversation included the following facts:

  • Dessert was frequently served with the first course and no one minded if you ate that first.
  • Peas were eaten with knives.
  • No one passed the potatoes. Rather, if you wanted something in a dish at the other end of the table, you passed your plate and someone sitting near the potatoes would dish them out for you.
  • If nothing is getting passed around to all the diners, there’s a lot of grabbing at spoons, bread, and wine. This is not considered rude.
  • Conversation is a must. Never mind the wallflowering. Even the most boring people were expected to make small talk. See: Mr. Collins in Pride & Prejudice.
  • Breakfast was a simple affair–tea and toast–and in the Austen family it was Jane’s responsibility to prepare the morning repast.

Anyone who missed the above event can catch the repeat performace on February 19, 2008 at 6:30 pm at the Plaza Library. Look for another Jane-uary event in February, “Love and Jane: A Mother/Daughter Tea” on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 4 pm also at Plaza.


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