I’m in a cookbook!


I never expected to be. Although I love cooking and baking and often don’t use a recipe, I’m far too impatient to make a list of ingredients most of the time, much less take measurements as well. The only time I ever write down quantities and measurements is when I’m adapting a recipe from a historical cookbook. I call it research, but for me trying old-fashioned recipes is also just fun, and sometimes the results are great. (And sometimes not, but I won’t dwell on those.)

One of my favorite old cookbooks is Beeton’s Book of Household Management, popularly known as Mrs. Beeton’s Cookbook. (You can see from the picture that my copy is well-used.) It was first published in 1861.

Recently, author Lois Winston had a great idea—to gather a bunch of authors and produce a cookbook with dessert recipes (yum) as well as advice on love and writing. I envy Lois her boundless energy. She writes mysteries (two series that I know of) and romances, but still found time to corral 105 authors for this venture. The cookbook was released last month, and it’s called Bake, Love, Write.

I contributed a recipe which I adapted from Mrs. Beeton’s Cookbook, in which it’s called “A Nice Plum Cake.” This cake (which I see as more of a quick bread) appears briefly in one of my Regency novellas, Notorious Eliza.


Mrs. Beeton’s version doesn’t have any plums in it and nor does mine, but it does have currants, so I renamed it Victorian Currant Bread. This is what it looks like, and in case any of you happen to buy a copy of Bake, Love, Write, I swear that the recipe does not have eggs in it (most cakes and quick breads do, so I get that question a lot).

It’s only 99 cents for the e-book (a great deal), and it’s also available in a paperback version. Here are some buy links if you go for dessert coupled with advice:

Have fun indulging your sweet tooth. :)



  1. Barbara Bettis // October 2, 2014 at 11:22 AM  

    Do I love desserts? Much to my wardrobe's chagrin, I certainly do. And I love the sound of this cake. I do have your book, and will certainly get this cookbook.

  2. Barbara Monajem // October 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM  

    Thanks, Barb! It's a great deal for Kindle if you can cook without making a mess. ;) (I can't, so I'm getting a print copy. At the moment, the price is pretty reasonable for that, too.)

  3. Lani // October 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM  

    I love the sound of the cake too! I have been trying to figure out how to make the "puddings" recipes lately, and although your cake is a cake, I wonder if it could convert into a steamed pudding. Hmm . . .

  4. Barbara Monajem // October 2, 2014 at 2:22 PM  

    Hi, Lani. I tried a steamed pudding last year (not an old-fashioned recipe) and it was a disaster! I'm going to try again this year.

    There's a recipe in Mrs. Beeton's for asparagus pudding, which sounds so bad that I have to try it.

  5. Mary Marvella // October 2, 2014 at 2:28 PM  

    I love the sound of your bread/cake! I might just need to do some baking tonight. The cookbook sounds worth checking out.

  6. Lois Winston // October 2, 2014 at 4:09 PM  

    Thanks so much for blogging about the cookbook, Barb!

  7. Barbara Monajem // October 2, 2014 at 5:09 PM  

    Hi, Mary M. Happy baking!

    Lois, thank *you* for putting this fun venture together. :)

  8. jessicaaspen.com // October 3, 2014 at 7:26 AM  

    Love using a historical resource as inspiration for both your writing and your recipe. Looks delicious!

  9. Lynn Franklin // October 3, 2014 at 8:10 AM  

    Barbara, I love this blog post, hearing about how you use old cookbooks in your historical novels. You are so brave adapting recipes from old cookbooks! If you ever try the asparagus pudding, please let us know.

  10. Barbara Monajem // October 3, 2014 at 9:06 AM  

    Thanks, Jessica. I love old cookbooks. You can find some really strange recipes there as well as great ones like this one.

  11. Barbara Monajem // October 3, 2014 at 9:07 AM  

    Hi, Lynn. I've been meaning to try asparagus pudding for ages. I will surely blog about it when I do! :)

  12. Haley Whitehall // October 4, 2014 at 11:03 AM  

    I never thought of using old cookbooks in my historical novels of course I don't cook very much. Great idea though. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Barbara Monajem // October 4, 2014 at 6:13 PM  

    Hi, Haley -- thanks for stopping by! :)

  14. Mona Risk // October 4, 2014 at 7:04 PM  

    Wow!Impressive Barbara.

  15. Josie // October 5, 2014 at 12:46 PM  

    Steamed pudding sounds delicious, Barbara. And congrats on the cookbook. What a wonderful idea!