Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time Traveling With Amanda Carmack

I've been fascinated by the Elizabethan period for a very long time!  Ever since one weekend when I was about seven or eight, staying with my grandmother (who loved old movies), and we caught a TV showing of Anne of the Thousand Days.  That made me run to the library to find anything I could read about Elizabeth I and her time period.  It was such an exciting time of courtly intrigue, the growth of the arts (especially theater and literature—think Shakespeare!), exploration and discovery, magic and alchemy.  All led by an amazing, strong, tempermental, fascinating woman.  Getting to spend time “living” in that period, seeing it through the eyes of my own character, court musician and amateur sleuth Kate Haywood, has been like a dream come true.

When I was in college, my love of all things Elizabethan led me to doing community theater, when I went to an audition for a production of Romeo and Juliet.  For a Valentine's Day fundraiser, we decided to do a dinner-theater R&J.  We had the “brilliant” idea to do some “authentic” Elizabethan recipes (even though none of us could cook!), and eagerly dug into some research books like All the King's Cooks.

I was assigned to make some adorable little pastries called “Maids of Honor.”  Confession—the one time I actually tried to make something more ambitious than pasta or chocolate chip cookies, I almost burned my kitchen down.  I am too easily bored by following recipes, too quickly distracted to keep an eye on the oven.  In fact, I started storing books in the oven when I lived in a tiny apartment, and never had to move them!  But making Elizabethan tarts sounded like fun.  How hard could it be???

It turns out—pretty hard.  The dough got made, but was like concrete and refused to be rolled out.  The filling turned to a gel-like substance, then crystallized.  My cat ate some, and promptly spit it out on the floor.  I ended up going to a bakery, which kindly made me a very pretty approximation!  But now I can look back on it as Important Research.  Much like wearing heavy brocade gowns at Renaissance fairs, or trying to distill Elizabeth perfume (another not-so-good idea, BTW!).  I love immersing myself in Kate Haywood's world of courtly intrigue, danger, and excitement.  But I love coming back to my own world of hot showers and microwave meals, too....

Now it's your turn!!  What's your favorite historical period?  If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?  Do you have any fun cooking adventure stories???  One commenter will win a signed copy of Murder at Hatfield House...

Maids of Honor
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. raspberry jam
1/2 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until light. Add sifted flour, salt and baking powder.
Form small balls between hands and put into small cupcake pans. Make a deep hole in center by pushing up around edges.
Mix jam and nuts together; fill tarts. Cover with small piece of dough.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 9-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Top with dusting of confectioner's sugar and/or whipped cream when serving. Yields 15-18 

Amanda Carmack

***The winner is Connie! Please email***


traveler said...

My favorite historical period is the 1940's and I would have liked to meet Sir Winston Churchill. Your novel sounds unforgettable. Best wishes and much success. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

Your fascinating post was a revelation. Learning about your background, your writing and baking was wonderful. Living during the 1920's would be have special and meeting WILBERFORCE would have been even better.

Pat Cochran said...

I really don't have a favorite historical period. I was born in the
mid-1930s and have great memories from the late '30s until
today. If I had to choose, I would go back and meet William
Shakespeare. I'd ask for hints for my son who is also a
playwright. My most interesting cooking adventure was a
Thanksgiving in the '70s. I read about a new turkey prepa-
ration procedure. It called for bagging a 12 pound bird in a
big brown shopping bag and cooking it in a MICROWAVE
OVEN. I followed all the directions, and lo and behold, it
turned out perfectly! I've never done another turkey in that
fashion because that particular oven died and all of the
microwave ovens made since then are too small!

Pat C.

Di said...

I love Colonial America - tho there aren't many books or movies set then.
I remember seeing 'Anne of a Thousand Days' at the movie theater and was enthralled but also appalled that it was basically a true story. I think I need to watch it again.

Connie said...

I have always been fascinated with the Regency period and especially all of the different fashions. I think I would like to return to that time and meet the famous Beau Brummel. I would enjoy seeing what he is wearing and get his take on women’s fashions of the period too. I think that would be very interesting to hear what he has to say.

I have always loved to cook and when I lived in Paris for a number of years, I loved to try my hand at international cooking. As my husband was working with a NATO group, I invited a number of his co-workers to dinner where I had prepared, totally from scratch, a complete Italian dinner literally from soup to nuts. It was a huge hit and we all had a delightful evening. Even the dinner table was gorgeous. We were renting a home in the suburbs of Paris which had a long and very heavy marble dinner table that was black with pink veins running through it. Gorgeous! The evening was so much fun!

I would love to read “Murder at Hatfield House” and review it on our blog, bookworm2bookworm. Congratulations on what looks to be a delightful novel!

Mary Preston said...

I love history in general. So any time period fascinates.

I think that Queen Victoria would be just amazing to meet. A long life that was not without it's troubles.

MURDER AT HATFIELD HOUSE does sound wonderful.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Awesome!! I had dinner at Hatfield House about 25 years ago!!!

Lory Lee said...

Historical. From 1800s to 1900s. I learned a lot from reading historical books and it helped me a lot with my vocabulary. And if I can meet someone it would be Jane Austen. I love her so much and her books.:)