Quote Jane


“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

maandag 6 januari 2014

Jane Austen and Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, and the official end of Christmas and was often celebrated with games, charades, punch and of course, the Twelfth Night Cake.
During Jane Austen’s life time, the celebration of Twelfth Night was at the height its of popularity. The day and night of the 6th was a time for masks and play acting.
The cake was part of this day rather than the now traditional Christmas evening. Twelfth day cakes were light and covered with coloured sugar, and they contained a bean and a pea. In France this is still a current tradition with a porcelain fève or bean being used instead for the fête des rois. The idea is that the man who found the bean would become king for the night, and the woman who found the pea would become queen. There are variants of this wherein the king and queen could choose a partner for the evening, which could provide an interesting opportunity for romance!
These cakes were quite difficult to make and were often purchased from a local confectioners. In Bath, decorated cakes with Plaster of Paris figures and crowns were displayed in confectioners' shop windows which were illuminated by small oil lamps. In the winter evenings people would go from shop to shop admiring the displays.
Then as now, the end of Twelfth Night dictated that all the decorations should be taken down and the greenery burned or ones house risked bad luck for the rest of the year.
Why not create your own Twelfth day cake and display it on our fantastic blue rose cake stand?
jane-austen-and-twelfth-night
Culture/LiturgicalYear/recipes
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Today is Epiphany, Twelfth Night – the final feast of the Christmas season before all of the Christmas decorations are taken down on January 6th– which is actually called Twelfth day.
In fact, if you have any more room, you can stuff in a bit of Twelfth Cake – which contained a coin or silver trinket or for the less well off, a pea. Whoever found it could be lord of the manor for the night ;-) These often elegantly decorated cakes were an important element in the celebrations for the feast of the Epiphany.

Like most of our Christmas traditions, it’s all a bit of a mish-mash. It seems likely that the present day Christmas cake has its origins in the Twelfth Cake and now the coins and trinkets are more likely to be hidden in the Christmas Pud.
So just one more slice of cake and then it really is all over…
And for those who like recreating the traditional, here’s the earliest printed recipe (1803) for Twelfth Cake by John Mollard, the Jamie Oliver of his day, from his best-seller “The Art of Cookery”.
epiphany-party

twelfth cake recipe - The art of cookery

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Austen werd geboren in Hampshire. Haar vader was een geestelijke. Het grootste deel van haar leven bleef zij in haar geboortestreek. Austen had zes broers en een oudere zuster, Cassandra, met wie zij zeer hecht was. Het enige onbetwiste portret van Jane Austen is een gekleurde schets die door Cassandra werd gemaakt en nu in de National Portrait Gallery in Londen hangt. In 1801 verhuisde de familie naar Bath. In 1802 werd Austen ten huwelijk gevraagd door de rijke Harris Bigg-Wither en zij stemde toe; de volgende dag deelde ze echter mee dat zij haar woord niet kon houden en trok haar instemming in. De reden hiervoor is niet bekend, maar Austen is nooit getrouwd. Na de dood van haar vader in 1805 woonden Jane, haar zuster en haar moeder daar nog verscheidene jaren tot zij in 1809 naar Chawton verhuisden. Hier had haar rijke broer Edward een landgoed met een plattelandshuisje, dat hij aan zijn moeder en zusters schonk (dit huis is tegenwoordig open voor het publiek). Zelfs nadat zij naam gemaakt had als romanschrijfster bleef zij in relatieve stilte leven, maar haar gezondheid ging sterk achteruit. Er wordt nu aangenomen dat zij de ziekte van Addison had, waarvan toen de oorzaak nog onbekend was. Ze reisde naar Winchester om behandeling te zoeken, maar stierf daar en werd begraven in de kathedraal.
Tot Austens beroemdste werk behoort de roman Emma. Het boek wordt vaak aangehaald vanwege de perfectie van vorm. Moderne critici blijven ook nieuwe perspectieven ontdekken op het scherpe commentaar van Austen betreffende de klasse van jonge, ongehuwde, aristocratische Engelse vrouwen in de vroege 19e eeuw.

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