Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blogging dangerously!

I have been so outraged by the recent attacks (by women!) against books and blogs describing domestic activities such as baking, knitting and needlework that I have decided to devote this post to a mixture of the lot! Yes, I'm contributing to what Liz Hunt of The Telegraph calls 'pinny-porn', "the insidious creep of the New Testament of Domesticity which is fast bringing women's simmering discontent to the boil."

I'm not a naturally gifted needle-woman but I was introduced to quilting a few years ago, as a way to pass the time in hospital waiting rooms. It worked well. My quilts are far from perfect but I enjoy doing them and the family appear to like receiving them. The joyfully awaited grandchild will have no choice in the matter: quilt#1 has been completed and #2 is under construction thanks to erp, who kindly sent me the template and instructions for her "literary quilt". I've started on the blocks and for the sashing I'll use the brown fabric. All the fabrics are from the new Anna Griffin 'Evelyn' range.

Of course, when I'm not sewing I am busy baking. Here is a recipe for Jane Austen lovers, one that might have come from the kitchen of Mrs Bennet herself:
Surly Curd Tart
1 pastry flan
2 pints milk
1 tsp. Epsom Salts
grated rind of 1 lemon
2oz currants (optional)
1oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
2 eggs
pinch nutmeg

Have to hand one 8 inch uncooked pastry flan case.
Make 8oz curd by heating, without allowing to boil, 2 pints of milk with 1 teaspoon of Epsom Salts. It will look slightly curdled. Strain through a fine sieve. The contents of the sieve will be curd.
Mix the curd with the fruit and lemon rind.
Beat the sugar and butter together.
Beat the eggs separately and stir into the butter and sugar. Gently stir in the curd and then fill the pastry flan case with the mixture.
Bake in a warm oven for 20 minutes until set and slightly browned. Sprinkle with the nutmeg and serve.

This little teatime treat can easily be prepared while your bread dough is rising, of course! Then off you go to meet your friends for a leisurely lunch, where you can swap recipes and knitting patters while the real women are busy keeping the world of commerce, politics and industry in order.


  1. I was at home this summer as I was not well and I really enjoyed the chance and the time to bake cakes, make soup, start some knitting, do sewing and generally just enjoying my leisure. I am back at work now but am still finding time for these things. It is all a matter of choice in what we choose to do and I thought that is what we women have been fighting for without the likes of Ms Hunt being sneering and unpleasant. if it wasn't for us older feminists she would be at home doing precisely what she is so snooty about, with no choice in the matter.

  2. Well said, Elaine. These things may have been chores for our mothers but I class them as very enjoyable leisure activities and I like to choose how I spend my free time.

  3. monix, I love your choice of colors for quilt #2. Picture of quilt #1?

    I'm honored to have contributed even in a small way to the new baby's well being. What a treat you are in for!!! Nothing can prepare you for heart wrenching you will feel when you see that tiny creature and have her tiny hand curl around your finger.

    Even though I am not a feminist as it is generally defined, I have stood up for women and gotten into some things by pure force of will, but then I’ve never been a joiner, nor a team player.

    I don’t particularly like the domestic arts, although I have done my share of cooking, I’ve retired from that now. However, if it will sufficiently annoy any feminazi, I’ll gladly take it up again.

    One of main fortes is the raised eyebrow and disdainful look when some silly woman thinks to take me on. I’m a little out of practice, but I’m sure I can get into fighting shape PDQ.

    Let me know how I can help.

  4. Glad you like the piggies, e.

    You can read some of the fuss we've been having here on this blog. The writer of the blog, Jane Brocket, published a book about her interests and the Furies descended on her.
    Like most of us she has many other responsibilities and interests and we all hate to be told what we should be doing, don't we?

    Tell me, would this kind of attack happen in America?

  5. I'm sorry that Jane felt the need to explain and justify her life. I hope most of it is a soap opera and nowhere near true. However all the media attention probably resulted in her selling a lot more books.

  6. Why, you old cynic,e! Actually it wasn't the life story I meant for you to read but the previous posts and comments at the time of the publication of the book. Newspapers and radio phone-ins were quite abusive not just about this book but generally about women who bake and sew and dare to talk about it.

  7. Where are you, Peter? I expected this post to have you thoroughly confused!

  8. m, my love, I've had a lifetime of that kind of abuse and I doubt anything said would be something I haven't heard many times before.

    I hope Jane makes a huge bundle (of money), retires to a charming cottage by the sea with an up-to-date electronic kitchen the size of an airplane hanger, bathrooms to die for in assorted colors, fancy new sewing machines of various kinds set in a separate room designed just for her needlework projects with acres of marble topped work tables, cabinets to store her fabric, trim, buttons, patterns, etc.

    For forays into the countryside his and hers Bentley’s and a Hummer to set off implosions in the heads of her critics and whatever else she fancies, but first and foremost -- full-time domestic help and then flaunt it all – the heck with British understatement!

    Lastly, write a tell-all book about the furor caused by her first book.

    That'll shut their mouths.

  9. Heck, no. I'm just sitting here thinking that I would clean a lot of toilets for some of that surly custard tart.

    But then again, thinking back to that heartwarming post about the young boys who dug your garden for you, maybe I would just try and find some nice teenaged girls in the neighbourhood to clean them for me. You know, just to give them a sense of challenge and accomplishment.

  10. e and Peter: can't speak now, my sides are splitting! Thanks for the entertainment.

    My daughter is arriving tomorrow for a few days but I'll be back soon with something to say about something, I'm sure!


I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!