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#History, Victorian Cooking

Victorian Cookbook: Workhouse Gruel

Welcome to what might be the first in a series of posts on Victorian recipes. I hope most of them will taste nicer than this one for workhouse gruel, but this seemed like a nice simple recipe to begin with.

Ingredients:

3 dessert spoons of oats

1 pint of water

Salt to taste

Method:

Mix the oatmeal with a little of the water until it looks like the image to the right. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited.

Put the rest of the water in a pan and add the oat mixture. Boil for ten minutes.

This may or may not be how wallpaper paste was invented.

If it looks like dirty washing up water, you’re doing it right.

Add salt to finished gruel and allow to grow tepid.

By this stage, the gruel should look like despair. Specifically, the despair of Victorian orphans.

Next, you’ll need some test subjects.

Because I’ll do anything in pursuit of my art, I sampled this and, let me tell you, it looks like it tastes. The salt doesn’t seem to aid the flavour unless you like the taste of bilge water.

Test subject 1 (age 40) described it as “inoffensive” but I found it highly offensive. His nickname from now on will be Mr. Bumble.

Test subject 2 (age 15) said “Good grief” when he tried it. He now sympathises even more with the Victorian poor.

Test subject 3 (age 8) consented to have his photo taken:

But he wouldn’t actually eat the gruel.

If you make this, let me know how it went in the comments. Next time, I’ll try to make something you might actually enjoy eating.

Book News

Evangeline Jones On the Road

With the help of the lovely people at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Evangeline Jones is hitting the road. Virtual tours are, of course, the best kind of tour, especially during a pandemic. There’ll be excerpts and reviews galore.

Here’s the schedule, which can also be found at the link above:

Monday, April 27
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, April 28
Review at SplendeurCaisse
Excerpt at Books in their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, April 29
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, April 30
Review at Bitch Bookshelf

Friday, May 1
Excerpt at Probably at the Library

Saturday, May 2
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, May 4
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, May 7
Review at Never Too Many To Read
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Friday, May 8
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, May 11
Feature at I’m All About Books

Tuesday, May 12
Review at Books2lovenow

Book News

Cover Reveal

It’s here at last! The Ruin of Evangeline Jones has a cover!

Do you enjoy enemies to lovers romances? If the answer is yes, I can’t wait for you to meet Evangeline and Alex (though, if you’ve read The Madness of Miss Grey, you’ve met Alex already). He’s the Duke of Harcastle now, but his true passion is still uncovering fakes and frauds wherever he finds them. That is, until he meets Evangeline Jones, a charlatan medium, who’s determined to resist him.

I hope you love them as much as I do.

Book News

The Ruin of Evangeline Jones

Yay! I’m pleased to announce that The Ruin of Evangeline Jones is scheduled for release on April 27th 2020. To those of you who have already read The Madness of Miss Grey and have asked me if Alex is getting his own story: This is it!

I don’t have a cover or back cover copy yet, but here’s the blurb I wrote when I was submitting it:

Alex Stanton just inherited a dukedom but his true passion is uncovering charlatans and frauds wherever he finds them. Spiritualist and medium Evangeline “Evie” Jones is the biggest fake of all and he’s determined to expose her lies for all of London to see. Her prim manner and ladylike airs don’t fool him. He sees the hunger beneath and recognizes a worthy opponent. He also can’t deny the dark undercurrents of lust between them.

Evie worked her way up from the gutter and she’s not about to abandon the life she’s built for fear of this aristocratic dilettante. She knows his type. She sees the attraction simmering beneath his animosity, and she knows how to use it to keep him off balance. They strike a bargain. He has one week to prove she’s a fake. If he fails, he has to abandon all further attempts. If he succeeds, she’ll not only retire but make a public statement explaining all her tricks.

Neither expects to find anything in common, not to mention anything to love, in the other. Both are blindsided by the affinity and blossoming tenderness between them. But even if it were possible for a lowly charlatan to live happily ever after with a duke, more is going on than either suspects. Someone else has brought them together for a sinister purpose of his own.

I can’t wait to share Alex and Evie’s story with you!