You knew it was coming.
You knew we’d read a Jane novel eventually, and then Emily would get all excited and do Jane Austen Week the week before we read it.
Yeah, you were right.
And here it is!
Normally, we meet the second Tuesday of the month. But since that’s Valentine’s Day, and two of the BGs have standing dates, we’re bumping it back a week.
The book we chose is Mansfield Park. I think it’s one of her more neglected titles, and I am going to attempt to rectify that! This week we’ll talk a bit about Jane’s family, her books, the movies, and food…all sorts of Jane goodness. 🙂
Today, we’re starting with a recipe. And not just any recipe, but one for alcoholic punch; how appropriate for Monday?
We’re bringing on the Negus. 🙂
Now, this recipe is noted in The Book Club Cookbook as belonging to Jane Eyre, but it was a popular 19th c. drink all round. It’s a “mulled wine made with sugar, nutmeg and often brandy…created by Col. Francis Negus in the early 18th century, it was popular at balls and social events of the era.” In Mansfield Park, Negus is served at the ball Sir Thomas throws for Fanny:
Shortly afterwards, Sir Thomas was again interfering a little with her inclination, by advising her to go immediately to bed…and then, creeping slowly up the principal staircase, pursued by the ceaseless country-dance, feverish with hopes and fears, soup and negus, sore-footed and fatigued, restless and agitated, yet feeling, in spite of everything, that a ball was indeed delightful. (254, 255 in the Oxford World’s Classic edition)
So, I give you: Negus
1 c. water
1 cinnamon stick
1 c. port wine
1 c. dry red wine, such as claret, Burgundy, Merlot, or Zinfandel
4 tsp. brandy
2 tbsp. sugar
1 lemon, sliced into thin rings
Grated or ground nutmeg, to taste (a large pinch)
Heat the water and cinnamon stick in a nonreactive saucepan. Boil gently for a few minutes. Reduce heat and add the remaining ingredients. When heated through, strain into heatproof serving goblets.
(From The Book Club Cookbook, by Judy GElman and Vicki Levy Krupp, page 211)