Enjoy Jane Austen's Favorite Foods With Recipes From Her Best Friend's Cookbook
A reproduction of Martha Lloyd’s Household Book hits shelves this month.
Few people knew Jane Austen better than Martha Lloyd. The Lloyd family was particularly close with the Austens, and Jane, in her own words, considered Martha to be like a "second sister."
Martha first befriended a young Jane in 1789. In 1806, following the death of both their fathers, Jane and Martha, along with Jane's mother and sister Cassandra, formed a household together at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. It was in that modest cottage that Jane wrote and revised all six of her novels.
"Martha got on very well with Cassandra and by taking on extra domestic responsibilities the two women greatly supported Jane's endeavors in writing," the Jane Austen Literary Foundation notes on its website. "Martha's practical help was immeasurable in helping Jane to escape the everyday and focus on other thoughts."
While Jane was busy penning Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, Martha was working on her household book, a record of the Austen family's favorite recipes pulled from published cookbooks and friends, written over 30 years.
Now, centuries later, Austen lovers can cook the same recipes Jane enjoyed while writing her incredible works. A full color reproduction of Martha Lloyd's Household Book, which is on display in the Austen museum at Chawton, will be available to purchase stateside on July 22. (BUY IT: Amazon; $44.90).
"Martha Lloyd's Household Book is a remarkable artifact, a manuscript cookbook featuring recipes and remedies handwritten over thirty years," the book's Amazon description reads. "Austen fans will spot the many connections between Martha's book and Jane Austen's writing, including dishes such as white soup from Pride and Prejudice. Readers will also learn the author's favorite foods, such as toasted cheese and mead."
In 1828, more than 10 years after Jane's death, the then 62-year-old Martha married Jane's widowed brother, Sir Francis Austen, finally making them sisters by law.
Martha's book was passed down through the Lloyd-Austen family for 200 years in relative obscurity. Its significance was only recently appreciated.
White soup, anyone?