A Good Stew — Austen’s time and today

As I developed the storyline for Lizzy & Jane, I knew of a few ingredients vital to the recipe – food, literature, sisters, discord, family and love.

I tapped Emma, resting on Jane’s lap: You see it in Austen. She only mentions food as a means to bring characters together, reveal aspects of their nature and their moral fiber. Hemingway does the same, though he skews more towards the drinks. Nevertheless, it’s never about the food – it’s about what the food becomes in the hands of the giver and the recipient.

I loved exploring how Jane Austen and other writers used food and I dug into cookbooks, cooked up meals and learned new recipes. I also learned that Jane Austen had it right – a lot of stew is a good way to go. She didn’t necessarily write about stew, but during her lifetime it was a staple. Salads were viewed with a bit of suspicion.

But I’m not digging in cookbooks to write a book today; I’m digging around in books and cookbooks to help my daughter combat Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’m learning a great deal about this auto-immune disease and the #1 cause of thyroiditis in the US. I am also learning that stews, well-cooked meats and vegetables, are great for a healing intestine. And that’s my goal – to help my daughter heal her stomach and intestines in an effort to get her immune system to stop attacking her thyroid.

And while my motivation for digging into cookbooks is different these days, I still agree with Lizzy from Lizzy and Jane: “Great writers and my mom never used food as an object. Instead it was a medium, a catalyst to mend hearts, to break down barriers, to build relationships.” For while food, in this present case, is a medium; it is also a sign of love. In solidarity with her, I’m eating the same diet (including all those fermented vegetables) to convey my love and show her she is not alone.

That’s what I’m up to right now. What about you? What are you reading?

Thank you for dropping by…



9 Responses to A Good Stew — Austen’s time and today

  1. So sorry to hear about your daughter. While I was a stay-at-home mother with babies and then toddlers, etc. I made all my meals from scratch. Plus I had a little garden and often we would eat fresh sugar snap peas, beans, tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, etc. I do believe that there are too many processed foods consumed in this day and age. I am happy to see my children buying and using organic foods for my grandchildren. Best wishes for success with your daughter’s diet. I also gave my children a cookbook with recipes as to how to incorporate vegetables into cooking to disguise them for children or adults who hate their veggies…veggies in brownies…yes.

  2. In our attempts to make ‘something’ bigger and better… we have trashed our food source. GMO and refined products have killed the nutritional values of our foods. Literally we are killing our selves and our bees with altered plants. I pray for your daughter and for you as you find that right formula that will set straight that which has gone off track. You are to be admired as you walk with her back to health. We see many times in literature where food was offered as a source of comfort, for health, the chicken broths, bone broths and stews. Yes, food is a great source of comfort. We join together as we lift you up in prayer. Blessings… to you and yours.

  3. Grace to you as you walk through this trial with your daughter. May you find a solution soon. Blessings!

  4. i wish your daughter a thorough healing. I firmly believe that diet is essential in treating and preventing many health issues and I applaud you for being so in tune to your daughters needs.

  5. Katherine, I hope all of your research is helping your daughter. Have you checked into sugar? That seems to be one of the biggest offenders with any health problem. Stews and Soups Yummy! Thanks for your post. Jen Red

  6. Hi Katherine – I’m a big fan of stew, of all different types. I made some yesterday, to be eaten today (It’s always better the next day). Your solidarity is wonderful. I’m sure your daughter feels well loved, which is healing in itself. I wish you both good fortune with your new diet and I hope you’re finding some wonderful recipes! Summer

    • Thank you, Summer. We are finding some tasty recipes and I’m sure everyone appreciates the variety. I was probably getting in a rut with some family favorites — now we’ve blown that wide open. 🙂

Comments are precious!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.