Regency Re-Creations

In keeping with our Sense and Sensibility theme…

If you haven’t already seen it, tonight (’til 4am) is your last chance to watch this latest Regency-themed offering from the BBC: ‘Regency Life: 3 Lives in 1 Day’.

‘Actress Charlotte Ritchie lifts the lid on a typical day for three Regency era people – a housemaid, her gentleman master and a young upper middle class woman. The Regency period was one of the most colourful in British history and gave us one of the best-loved books of all time – Pride and Prejudice. Two hundred years on, the popularity of Jane Austen’s most famous novel shows no sign of fading and each of the characters explored in 3 Lives in 1 day could easily be lifted from the pages of her literary masterpiece…’

I’ll be checking it out tonight. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Similarly, did any of you see ‘Having a Ball’, presented by Amanda Vickery,  a couple of weeks ago?

BBC Having a Ball

image: BBC2

The programme showed a modern re-creation of the Netherfield ball in Pride and Prejudice, complete with authentic decorations, lighting, meticulously fitted dresses and breeches…

(it is SO important for these things to be done PROPERLY)

Having a Ball breeches

image: BBC2

… and some absolutely gob-smacking food creations by historical food expert Ivan Day.


image: BBC2

Look at this one! Amazing!

Having a Ball cake

image: BBC2

White soup (veal stock, pudding rice, powdered almonds, bacon, anchovies and cream), ragu of veal (with hard-boiled egg yolks, served with sweet bread), cold fowl (including intact chickens, enticing diners to such out the eyes and brains through the beak), and cold ices (flavoured with…

… orange. Phew. Maybe that’ll settle your stomach).

Pleasingly, the Regency palate seems to have her/ his priorities right: the main attraction appears to have been JELLY.

Some are elaborate, like this one, made with a Wedgwood mould:

image: BBC2

image: BBC2

Others are oddly appealing, like this ‘Solomon’s Temple’…

Ivan Day solomons castle Georgian jelly

image: BBC2

…but alas, others rather less so. ‘Fresh water crayfish jelly’, anyone?

Fresh water crayfish jelly  AHW

image: Optomen Television

Let this be a sobering lesson to us all: some things are better left un-jellied.

P. S.  Note that for better for worse, the BBC food website only gives the recipe for the most conservative delicacy depicted in the programme: ‘Spiced Biscuits’.