Golden Age

comments: 62


I finally took the time to putter in the kitchen a couple of afternoons ago. The lovely Mrs. Brocket had sent me her new book back in July, and though I'd read it cover to cover almost immediately, I hadn't made time to cook from it. But Wednesday's clear, crisp, cold afternoon required me to pull out my lovely rippled pudding pot and get busy.


I know Jane would probably approve that the mauve-y luster of  my pot matches the delightful cover of her book, Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats. Cherry Cake is a collection of recipes for the old-fashioned treats featured in classic favorites from the golden age of British children's literature. It's the coolest book, and it is just so totally Jane.

As you probably know, Jane is a voracious reader and a champion baker (among her other many talents). I can totally picture her and daughter Phoebe (whose request to actually bake the macaroons she'd only read about in Enid Blyton inspired Jane to reserach and write this book) with a wooden spoon in one hand, and The Ragamuffin Mystery in the other, busy about the Cook's Special Sugar Biscuits. Organized in sections like "Off to a Good Start" (breakfasts before adventures), "Proper Elevenses" (for that little mid-morning sit-down), "School Food" (illicit supplements to dining-hall fare), and "Kind and Thoughtful Treats" (simple gestures for genuine and caring occasions), each recipe is introduced brilliantly, so that you not only understand its context within the book it comes from, but you now want to go to the library and get every single one of the children's books she references. (Which you can do, because Jane gives a comprehensive bibliography at the end of the book.) I love it.


I'd made some rice pudding for Jane in celebration of her first book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity (the U.S. edition of which is now available), so naturally I had to try her version of this Edwardian supper-staple, Creamy Rice Pud. I fudged my way through the conversions from grams to ounces because my computer was rebooting itself for the fourteenth time and I couldn't get to a conversion chart (but here's one if you need it, and if you're in the U.S. you will, since the book is a British edition, but that's what makes it fun). I grated some nutmeg and added a pile of cinnamon in one spot (as usual — that cinnamon always comes out in a pile). The pudding cooks for three hours, and during that time it will fill your house with the most mellow, golden, comforting smell in the world.


I ate mine for dinner in the glow of my little lamp (since by the time the pud' came out of the ove' it was way dark outside), and couldn't help but feel that, with ever so much wrong with the world, my little corner of it was, if only at that moment, quite all right.

Now to the library for The Railway Children and Heidi, which I've never read. And I promise I will redo my booklist next!


Do you need to be eminded that US tablespoon measurements and UK tablespoon measurements are different?

Alicia, it was so great meeting you this weekend (sorry I interrupted your picture taking of the pumpkins!)

Funnily enough, the photo client I was meeting that afternoon knows you! Her name is Linnea ( ) and she met you the same way I met you: randomly on the street. :)

Also, this is the monitor calibrator I mentioned to you.

I am going to have to find this book. My husband is from England and I grew up reading so many English books. As a kid, I remember wondering what ginger beer tasted like! Now my daughters, 10 and 12, enjoy the Famous Five stories!

Danielle White says: October 27, 2008 at 06:58 AM

My children are English and since we
have moved to the East Coast they will often beg for old fashioned puddings, which means I get to try too!Enjoy working your way through the book, the eating and the reading
though I find E. Blyton books creepy and racist as all the baddies are Gypsy's and foreigners.She was a little xenophobic you could say and not a great trait to pass on to our children!

It's such a great book. Full of nostalgia. The rice pud looks yummy. The railway children is one of my all time favourite films(the old version with Jenny Agutter as the daughter, not the Mother) and the book is just lovely too. Hope you enjoy it.

Heidi was one of my most treasured favorites, along with Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. You are in for a treat!

Your photos look so soothing and comfortable. Mmmm- I was sad to see Summer go, but that was when I hadn't been back in the kitchen baking enough.

Mmmm... the rice pud looks delish. I can't wait to get Jane's new book.

And Heidi was my ALL TIME favourite book when I was a child. I always cried when Heidi was taken away from her grand-father on the mountain to the city. To this day, I'm haunted by the beautiful sound of wind in the pines...

That's funny - I just started reading Heidi for the first time about a month ago! A couple of years ago I found a nice thick copy of the book at the used book store - finally decided to pull it out 'cuz I love the Shirley Temple movie - and, I always wanted to live in the Alps (Sound of Music in my childhood influences). :)

Oh goodness, that rice pudding! Mmmmmmmmm I love love love rice pudding.

Prettypansies says: November 07, 2008 at 07:04 PM

I love your pink bowl with lid! Could you please tell me where you got it, or what brand it is? Thanks.

Can you share the recipe of the rice pudding?? You made my mouth water!


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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at