Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tea & Books Saturday #6 - "Tea with the Bennets"

Tea with the Bennets
By Margaret Vaughan, 1996

Have any of you been watching Jane Austen's "Emma" on PBS? I got to see Part One when it aired and caught up with Part Two online this week. Now, I am trying to figure out how to watch all of the Super Bowl (for the commercials, of course) as well as Part Three of "Emma" tomorrow night! At any rate, seeing a new production of Austen's work reminded me of one of several Austen-related books I have, including "Tea with the Bennets" by Margaret Vaughan. This book was one of my favorite souvenirs from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath several years ago, and you can find a copy here if you're interested.

Vaughan, a native of Scotland, is a former restaurant and bakery owner, and later a tearoom operator, who has appeared on television as well as given live lectures and demonstrations on British cooking. In this "anthology of recipes," Vaughan uses Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" as her inspiration and builds a teatime menu around some of its characters. "Throughout Jane Austen's novels," Vaughan says, "the table was an important setting, the focus of much of the social life of the period. Guests were invited to dinner or supper, invitations accepted -- important rituals which helped to reinforce a family's wealth and social standing and an intrinsic part of the plot."

I enjoyed seeing the photos of beautiful teawares as well as the line drawings in this book, but most fun were the character-related food descriptions, such as this one for Simpering Cake: "We have all met the likes of Mr. Collins -- gushing and pretentious without reason. This recipe for a tasty, everyday fruit cake aspires to a grandeur it doesn't quite attain!" A recipe calling for apples and marigold petals, Father's Favourite Pudding, was one of her own father's favorites. Vaughan says "Mr. Bennet would certainly have enjoyed it -- sweetness with a hidden spicey twist of humour. Great fun for a dinner party dessert." I've never had a Jane Austen inspired tea, but if I ever do this book is certainly where I will turn first!


  1. Angela, this book looks so interesting. I may need to read it. I love that time period and anytime these shows are on, I watch them. By the way, did you ever see the movie, 'Room With A View?' Very well done and the soundtrack transported me. Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing, Joanie

  2. It looks like you are getting spammed too. It is so disgusting!

    I have not heard of this book, but it sounds like a fun one to have.

  3. This sounds like a nice book for anyone who likes Jane Austin. Thanks for sharing your review. Hope you find a way to watch both things tomorrow night. DVR would come in handy.

  4. I just lurve these books too. Especially when they have tea inspriations for menu ideas and such. Thanks for sharing!

  5. An Austen themed tea. Angela, what a wonderful idea! I think I would lean toward "Sense and Sensibility". As a huge "Jane" fan, "Tea With The Bennets" is going on my book list. I don't know about you, but, this version of Emma has been somewhat disappointing. BTW, I love your new email icon!

  6. Angela: Who produces this book - I would love to sell it?

  7. Bernideen, this was apparently self-published, and unfortunately there is no contact address or ordering information at all!

  8. I was a little disappointed with this version of 'Emma' too. I like the Gwyneth Paltrow version better. But the newer Masterpiece version of 'Sense and Sensibility' is my fave!

  9. Angela: Before I went to Virginia my husband and I purchased the Emma
    DVD's and watched them We had a little problem though. We didn't realize that the DVD is in 4 segments and we watched part 1 of the first DVD and then because the credits came up we took that DVD off and put on #2.
    We repeated only watching the first segment on the second DVD. We went to bed exclaming that we really thought it was a dumb story that made no sense at all! About 4days later we rewatched Emma and realized what we had done- it sure made better sense! People have to watch the "credits" after each of the 4 parts but it really does keep going eventually! MUST BE A BRITISH THING!


Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment! It makes my day to hear from readers!