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Sir Johns Table A Review

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I follow many blogs and more than a few are authors, I love reading and it’s a big plus for me when there is mention of food in the book. I was honored to recieve a copy of Lindy Mechefsky’s new book “Sir John’s Table”. This book is fascinating, giving some insight into the life of Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John Alexander MacDonald. Many of you know Lindy and her beautiful blog Love In The Kitchen not only is Lindy an amazing cook and recipe developer but she is an accomplished author, her blog is intellectually stimulating as well as hunger inducing, in one of my favorite posts she artfully links Jung to food in particular a cranberry almond apple tart. You will find all of her recipes are delicious and most are woven with literary references, brilliant Lindy!!

Lets get back to the book. Beautifully written, it tells the history of Sir John and each chapter boasts a wonderful recipe from that era. See Lindy’s recent post on a Champagne Cup cocktail which is found in Chapter 14 of her book. You get a lovely recipe along with the Victorian disposition to alcohol consumption. Great reading and drinking.

I chose a recipe in Chapter 21 for Sir John A. Pudding, I love bread pudding and this is just that, but made with breadcrumbs rather than slices or chunks of bread. Or at least I think it’s breadcrumbs. The recipe is a bit vague, 4 cups milk may not be 8oz in Victorian. Anyway I added 4 cups and my pudding was quite soupy, so I added another 2 cups of breadcrumbs. We’ll see how I do with Victorian cooking. They may have meant tea cups which are about 4 oz.  The recipe say’s a few minutes in the oven, well,  It’s been in the oven 30 minutes and it’s still like soup. It tastes really nice though.  There was no mention of oven temperature I guess in those days you heat the oven and put your food in hoping for the best, I baked at 350 degrees. I don’t think I would make it in a Victorian kitchen. I am having fun though, trying to channel Mrs. Patmore from Downton Abbey. After about an hour in the oven it came out and it’s quite lovely. I think I have a new found respect for cooks of that era now, we have our kitchen gadgets and measurers which they did not have. Cooking was instinctual and I think although the recipes are simple a good outcome was harder to come by simply because they did not have the tools we possess today.

Sir John A. Pudding

Sir John A. Pudding

Sir John A's Pudding

Sir John A’s Pudding out of the oven

The book is written in a way that makes a historical novel approachable and interesting, Lindy took a political figure and brought him to life by intermingled some fun and delicious recipes which gives insight into what it was like in a Victorian home and kitchen. Highly recommend this book.

Lindy’s book is published by Goose Lane Publishers and is available here:

Order at Chapters/Indigo.

Order at Amazon.ca

Order at Amazon.com

Since I am getting all literary I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention other amazing authors who I count as friends and fellow bloggers, I faithfully read their blogs and books and I hope you check them out.

Teagan Riordain Geneviene – Teagan’s Books Teagan is an amazing fantasy writer and pens a weekly series of  interactive episodes on her site with a continuing story that is both fascinating and entertaining. She is also a published author and oh so talented!! Teagans books are available on Amazon and other purveyors of good reads, you have to read “Atonement Tenessee”, it’s so good. I told Teagan to write a screen play it would make a great movie.

Sean Munger – Sean Munger.com– Historian, brillian writer and a very very interesting blog. I am a horror fan and Sean writes some fantastic horror novels. Sean’s latest book is “Doppelganger” I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ghostly thriller set in Victorian New York.

David Prosser – Barsetshire Diaries David writes about his daily exploits, he is a character and one of my favorite people. he is also an accomplished author.  I love reading Davids descriptions of what his day was like, his family and friends and Joey his parakeet, he always includes some great music and photo’s as well. A very lovely read, and David I promise to purchase and read one of your books soon.

67 Comments Post a comment
  1. this looks like an interesting book! Wonderful post!

    September 15, 2015
  2. lovely post ! I will have to do a little research about the books that you recommend but Sir Johns Table sure sounds wonderful ! I have to order one for me :). Thank you so much for this review !

    September 15, 2015
    • Thank you Anita, It’s a really interesting book, I really enjoyed reading and cooking and hope to make more of the recipes.

      September 15, 2015
  3. Great post Suzanne – great insights into an era gone by. You’re absolutely right, how did they all manage then? I bet the word “gadget” was only invented in the last few years :). Love bread pudding myself, yours looks delicious.

    September 15, 2015
    • It really is fascinating to think about how they cooked before all the modern conveniences we now take for granted. Thanks Loretta.

      September 15, 2015
  4. Very interesting. I wonder due to the non-specifics of the recipe if they understood breadcrumbs to be more like cubes instead of the ground up crumbs we have today. Just a thought. I too cannot imagine what it must be like cooking in times without oven temperatures and gadgets. Fun book and recipe. Thank you for sharing.

    September 15, 2015
    • I took it quite literally Michelle but as an after I made the recipe I thought the same thing, bread crumbs could have been small pieces of bread, Just not sure, either way it was good and I had fun adjusting to modern times. Thanks so much.

      September 15, 2015
  5. This book looks like a treasure! I love the history that goes with food. It’s never just about the ingredients. I love to read too, but am not doing enough of it!

    September 15, 2015
    • It is a treasure, I have always loved history and food and this book has both. Thanks so much Julie.

      September 15, 2015
  6. It’s always a pleasure having you visit me Suzanne.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    September 15, 2015
    • You know I love you David and enjoy my weekly visits. Thank you.

      September 15, 2015
  7. Sounds like a very fun read. I love the measurement for butter… “size of an egg”?! Cooks from that era must have had a pretty good handle on how to tweak a recipe. Very interesting because these days we tend to think of baking as so precise with things measured down to an eighth of a teaspoon.

    September 15, 2015
    • It’s so true but I am gathering that in bygone days things were not precise and cooks relied more on instinct rather than precise measurements I had fun with this! Thank you so much Heather.

      September 15, 2015
  8. Great post! I intend to get my own copy of this book but now I am even more excited about reading it. I think history and cooking will make for a very interesting read about a subject I would like to know more about.

    September 15, 2015
    • I have always love history and when food is in the mix it’s even more interesting. I loved the book. Thanks Hilda.

      September 15, 2015
  9. Thank you for sharing this Suzanne!!!

    September 15, 2015
  10. Suzanne! THANK YOU!!! What a wonderful, comprehensive review.

    I absolutely love that you made the Sir John A. Pudding. Aren’t the historic recipes just fascinating? When I was making the Baked Black Bass I couldn’t believe that it called for EIGHT onions. I had more stuffing than fish! It was only later that I realized that the onions in the 1800s were most likely tiny, akin to shallots. And conversely, the fish were bigger then too. And that’s not a fish story! 😉

    One of the things I loved when doing the research was the amount of imagination required as compared to following contemporary recipes.It did really make me think about what life was like then and how much simpler things were, even though often so much harder. I thought about that in the historic walled garden the other day too. It was just so restorative.

    Huge and sincere gratitude to you. I look forward to checking out the other books you’ve mentioned.
    xo Lindy

    September 15, 2015
    • Thank you Lindy for the book which I loved and learned from. Having never really made anything from a historic recipe it was a learning experience, After putting it together I thought this is a lot of milk for only 2 cups of bread crumbs then I thought they probably used tea cups or something like that. Thats funny about the fish, yea 8 onions is a lot of onion. Everything was smaller back then I was so happy to be able to read and write about your amazing book.

      September 15, 2015
  11. Lovely post, Suzanne! And thanks for the tip! 😘

    September 15, 2015
  12. Lovely post. .. this book sounds interesting… !

    September 15, 2015
  13. We really do take so much for granted. Quite often it would’ve been a handful + a pinch. We still need to work instinctively. But I just don’t know about the cups. I don’t own Victorian cups so I don’t even know the size of them! As for the breadcrumbs, I would imagine those would’ve been smaller than cubes. If you think of giving the crumbs off your plate to the ducks in the pond outside!
    – Always love reading Lindy’s posts, so I can imagine the book was a fabulous read.

    September 15, 2015
    • Yes I bet they were not actually crumbs it’s hard to know exactly what is meant and how much their cup holds is it 4 or 6 oz who knows but it’s fun figuring it out. Thanks so much Johnny!

      September 15, 2015
  14. Hi Suzanne, I love Downton Abbey especially Mrs. Patmore. I think just about everything of that era we would consider difficult especially some of the attitudes. But it is fascinating learning about it.

    September 15, 2015
    • I do too love Mrs Patmore I love watching her in the kitchen she and Daisey! Thanks Cheri!

      September 15, 2015
  15. Suzanne, thanks for the mention. I’m honored to be included on the same page as such marvelous writers!
    What an unexpected topic for that book. I’m beyond intrigued. I can’t wait to learn more about everyone you mentioned.
    Thank you again. Mega hugs!

    September 15, 2015
    • I could not write about anything having to do with writing without mentioning you. I love your work but you know that. You remain my favorite i look forward to every weekend because I know I will get my Teagan fix!

      September 15, 2015
      • You know I’m a glutton for encouragement — AND for your recipes! Your words mean a lot to me. Hugs.

        September 16, 2015
      • and I am a glutton for your stories. :o)

        September 16, 2015
  16. What a great post! I’m in the middle of Lindy’s book right now. It truly is a wonderful read Suzanne. I love that you made the pudding. I keep imagining myself in a kitchen measuring out a little this and a little of that and stoking the wood burning oven to put dinner on the table. I guess you would never really know the exact temperature of the oven. Seems like it would be necessary to know heat by touch and timing. Lovely that you reviewed Lindy’s book. 🙂

    September 15, 2015
    • It is such a wonderful book so glad you are also reading it! Are you going to make a recipe from the book? I also was imagining myself with a wood burning stove stoking the fire and you would not know the temperature how can you regulate the heat I wonder. Now things are so precise. Thank you so much!

      September 15, 2015
      • I think I’ll have to make one, just for fun! I imagine cooks had a knack for “feel” back in the day. Seems like you would have just know when the heat/timing was right to put the cake in the oven. I love the idea of this though! 🙂

        September 15, 2015
      • It’s fun! We should all make a recipe from Lindys book and post in the same day

        September 15, 2015
      • Great idea!!

        September 15, 2015
  17. Book seems to be interesting.. Pudding looks easy and yum.. Thanks for the review Suzanne

    September 15, 2015
    • Thank you it was fun to make a Victorian recipe and the book is wonderful!

      September 15, 2015
  18. I appreciate and enjoy Lindy’s writing and recipes on her blog. It is of no surprise that she came out with an actual hard copy book covering history and cooking/baking of the era. It is so wonderful to see that you actually materialized one of the recipes and baked this delectable pudding. A lovely post with wonderful compliment to Lindy! 🙂

    September 15, 2015
    • Thanks Fae, I truly enjoyed the book and baking the pudding was fun.

      September 16, 2015
  19. What an interesting review Suzanne. I am going to check her blog.
    Haven’t had a chance to get my hands at a food book which weaves around stories and recipes.
    Might want to write one myself!… Eh! A long shot :).
    How did the pudding taste?

    September 15, 2015
    • The pudding was good, and I think you should write a book Sonal, it would be wonderful, stories of your homeland with recipes and your move to the US would be so interesting.

      September 16, 2015
      • You are always encouraging Suzanne! At the moment, I am like a lost puppy who doesn’t know which direction to go, since my youngest is also in full time school too.0

        September 16, 2015
      • I know the feeling very well. You have to become accustomed to the change after having your youngest home and then they are in school it is a drastic change to your routine. You will

        September 16, 2015
      • I accidentally hit send. Anyway your routine will change you will adapt and no longer have that lost puppy dog feeling. You are a very smart creative woman and can’t wait to see what you do next.

        September 16, 2015
      • ❤️❤️🙏
        Thanks for the encouragement Suzanne! Much needed!

        September 16, 2015
  20. That sounds like an interesting book Suzanne !! the pudding looks lovely too, how did it taste ?

    September 16, 2015
    • The pudding was good Freda, on the bland side but good. I make bread pudding all the time and it is rather bland but you dress it up as Lindy suggests eating with jam and cream is delicious.

      September 16, 2015
  21. I love books like that with the dramatic flare, I must check this out. 🙂

    September 16, 2015
    • It’s really interesting and honestly fun to make the recipes work.

      September 16, 2015
  22. Sandhya #

    What a fascinating post Suzanne! I love to read books and recipes from days gone by….it gives us a close glimpse of that era.
    Your bread pudding looks so tempting!

    September 16, 2015
    • The bread pudding was simple and good and it really was interesting reading this book and getting a glimplse of life in Victorian Canada.

      September 17, 2015
  23. Thanks a lot for the tips Suzanne… I wish I could have more time to buy and read!

    September 18, 2015
    • Hi Margherita, thank you so much and so happy that you stopped by.

      September 18, 2015
  24. The book sounds really good and your bread pudding looks great! I love bread pudding, too, especially in the fall and winter.

    September 18, 2015
    • Thanks Nancy, It was good. I am also a fan of bread pudding, make it every winter but I like it with a boozy caramel sauce.

      September 18, 2015
  25. A little history with your pudding– sounds about perfect. Ans always love a good book recommendation –thanks Suzanne!

    September 24, 2015
    • I love that, yes exactly a little history with my pudding. Thanks Rhonda.

      September 24, 2015
      • Love your blog Suzanne– so varied and always “friendly” to read.

        September 24, 2015
  26. I love that it say’s “Butter size of an egg” I just love it LOL!!!!

    September 28, 2015
  27. I love to read, too, Suzanne, and it is always fun when a book includes food. I appreciate your recommendation for the book and the blogs. You were brave to try this recipe! I’m glad it came out for you. I had never thought about how difficult it was to cook in ages past. What a fun post this was!

    September 28, 2015
    • It is a really fun book, Lindy really took a historical figure, mixed in a little food and fun facts from Victorian times and gave us a really interesting book. I looked at the recipe and thought oh this has measurements but found out I was wrong, they are not measurements by our standards. It took some work to get it right but it was a lovely recipe. Thanks so much Shari.

      September 28, 2015
  28. CC #

    I LOVE books like this one! I wish I had time to read as this would be on my list!

    October 4, 2015

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