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Friday, 15 February 2013

My History Valentine: An Ode to Mrs. Beeton

In the last of our #historyvalentine series, Ministry member Laura waxes romantic about that icon of domesticity, Mrs. Beeton (completely in verse no less).

Ode to Mrs Beeton
A love-letter to good taste and sweet ordering…

Some say it was just lucky
You were wedded to a spouse
Who happened to own and operate
His own publishing house.

Too many dull historians
(Most of whom are male)
Discount your work as trivial
A trifling travail.

But it is a masterpiece
That no home should be without
After all, what modern girl
Could make so many meals from trout?!

Although she only lived to 28, her legacy
lives on in this ode
All your modern copycats
Are better left unread
It can’t be called a cookbook
Without a page on quadrupeds.

And as for being topical,
Your work has stayed the course
There is an entire chapter
On what to do with horse.

Who among us doesn’t love
A brunch of Plover’s eggs
Followed by Dutch Flummery
Or curried Lobster legs?

And you’re strong on family harmony
Your well-reasoned discourse
Prevents a mal-cooked Parrot Pie
From ending in divorce

But if it does go horribly wrong
You thought of all that too
It might not have been explicit
But you showed us what to do.

A husband struck with Manflu
(Or ‘Concussion of the Brain’)
Treated with lead and camphor pills
Will never moan again!

Or if a restless child
Is keeping you up at night
Some Calomel and Opium
Should set the noisy bugger right.
And so to Isabella
Who taught our Nans and Mums
And who, now that the world has changed
Will begin to teach our sons

I write a simple ode of thanks
For your well-read kitchen file
I may not like your forcemeat balls,
But I bloody love your style.

Laura is an accidental historical geographer, scholar of the Victorian home and urban forager. Follow her on twitter @tweetingbogart

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely amazing Laura! I demand more verse about historic figures!