In the Kitchen

The recent bake-off hosted by the Journal of Victorian Culture in aid of Comic Relief ( got many of us Victorianists thinking about the joys (or trials and tribulations) of traditional cookery. An ever-popular pastime of the PhD student, recent months have seen us move on from the cupcake fad in some inventive and intriguing directions. (Here at GBO&D we don’t name names, but word has reached us of some especially inspired TAB (Thesis Avoidance Behaviour): cheese-making.)We’d love to hear about what our readers have been getting up to in the kitchen: send us your recipes, tips, kitchen diaries, photos and questions (we’ll try to get hold of Mrs Beeton to respond to these – Ruskin doesn’t seem likely to be of much use here). Bonus points for notes/ pics with the reactions of your unsuspecting victims (ahem, I mean diners) – housemates, family members, passers by.

Here’s a topical yet classic little Victorian recipe to get the ball rolling. We haven’t tried it but if you do, let us know how it goes!



1/2 lb butter

12 onions



2 egg yolks (that’s right, EGGS IN SOUP, I kid you not. Thickens it.)


1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onions, having diced and salted them (remember, we’re Victorians, in blissful ignorance of the evils of salt).

2. Let it stew 15 minutes then add flour and stir well.

3. Add 2 pints of boiling water and some toasted bread (sort of like croutons, but get them really mushed up in there).

4. Cook ten minutes more then finally add the eggs and serve.

Notes: You will need to decide how much salt and flour you would like. Flour is a thickener so too much is no good, unless you like it to be more of a stew.