Robin's Reviews > The Secret Garden Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden Cookbook by Amy Cotler
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it was amazing
bookshelves: cookbook, history-world, childrens
Read 2 times. Last read January 24, 2010 to February 3, 2010.

Written in 1999, this book embodies the sense of both time and place from the Victorian era book that inspired it: Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden.” Following Burnett’s theme of good food nourishing mind and body, author Amy Cotler excerpts activities from “The Secret Garden’s” plot and writes a series of Victorian era recipes to suit each situation. All of these recipes can be prepared in a modern kitchen.

The book format includes not only recipes but quotes from “The Secret Garden” and short descriptions of relevant Victorian activities such as the first use of tea in the UK, the invention of baking powder, the Victorian garden, the shifting of the breakfast hour due to industrialization, the influence of Indian foods, and changes in eating habits inspired by Queen Victoria. Hand-drawn illustrations by Prudence See lend a Victorian authenticity and help organize the material into a useful format for both reading and cooking. Throughout, a theme of contrast in diet between rich manor residents and poor cottage dwellers is prevalent and points up the romanticization of this contrast in Burnett’s book, gently giving readers a more realistic view of food distribution during Victorian times.

Like the book on which it is based, this cookbook will appeal to both children and adults. Some of the recipes, like coddled eggs, fruit lassi, spring peas with mint, dough cakes, Welsh rabbit, cocoa, and cucumber sandwiches can be easily prepared by children. Others, such as Cornish pasties, crumpets, currant buns, and Yorkshire pudding, are more appropriate for adults. Older children may want to prepare such recipes as scones, parkin (old fashioned gingerbread), little sausage cakes, and jam roly-poly. Other recipes are of historical significance and perhaps better imagined than made, for example pease porridge, roasted fowl with bread sauce, kedgeree, and cabinet pudding. I’ve prepared the scones, fresh mango chutney, coddled eggs, glazed carrots, and spring peas with mint, and all are excellent.

This book is fairly hard to find. I located it in my local library’s juvenile section.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 24, 2010 – Started Reading
January 24, 2010 – Shelved
January 24, 2010 – Shelved as: cookbook
February 3, 2010 – Finished Reading
February 5, 2010 – Shelved as: history-world
December 9, 2012 – Shelved as: childrens

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