For those of you who are members of JASNA, you have hopefully received your latest JASNA News [Vol. 26, No. 3] in the mail – I notice that the State of Vermont has a few mentions worth re-mentioning!
There is of course, the latest news from our JASNA Region; and JASNA-Vermont member Kelly McDonald has another article on “Love and Marriage, Part 2: A Diary from the Austen Circle of Neighbors” as she continues her journey through the diaries of the Augusta Smith, mother-in-law to Jane’s nephew [and author of the Memoir] James Edward Austen-Leigh. But there are two other references to Vermont that must be expounded upon…
First, former JASNA President Marsha Huff in her summing up of her four years at the helm tells of her many travels and visits to various JASNA Regions : “I’ve tasted local delicacies (Lake Champlain chocolates in Burlington, VT)”, she writes, referring to her delightful visit with us last September when she gave her talk on “Jane Austen and Vermeer.” Lake Champlain Chocolates is one of Vermont’s many small businesses that has developed a huge chocolate-obsessed following, not unlike the famed Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream that you can find all over the world [when in London last February, my daughter and I discovered a Ben & Jerry’s housed in a movie theater lobby! – yum!] – so I couldn’t resist this plug from Marsha to advertise one of our more delicious products [we do lots more than just Maple Syrup!] –
Here is their website: Lake Champlain Chocolates – what better place to visit for your Valentine treats!
And of course, the best source for guilt-free organic chocolate:
And next is an article by Elsa Solender, also a former JASNA President and a runner–up in last year’s Chawton House Library’s short story contest [she authored Second Thoughts, a fictional take on Jane Austen’s night of doubt after accepting the marriage proposal of Harris Bigg-Wither]. Here in her article on “A Return to Chawton House Library – Part I” she offers us a recipe for Chawton-style sandwiches:
Spread either honey or sweet mango chutney on one surface of each of two slices of fairly firm white or whole wheat bread. On one of those sweetened surfaces, lay down a generous layer of thin slices of the best aged cheddar you can find. Here in the USA, I use Grafton Vermont Cheddar aged two years [my emphasis]. Join the two treated slices, cut in quarters with or without crusts, and enjoy. A pureed green vegetable soup goes very well with these sandwiches at lunchtime.
Now I have been eating Grafton Cheddar cheeses for years – one of the best of a good number of cheese companies in Vermont [Shelburne Farms Farmhouse Cheddar and Cabot cheeses to name just two others]…
Here is the website for the Grafton Village Cheese Company.
Certainly worth a look and a purchase if you want to indulge in Ms. Solender’s fine sandwiches…
Now I am wondering, where did Austen ever mention cheese? – here are two of several:
In Mansfield Park, we find Fanny overwhelmed with the disorder and noise in her home in Portsmouth:
Fanny, fatigued and fatigued again, was thankful to accept the first invitation of going to bed; and before Betsey had finished her cry at being allowed to sit up only one hour extraordinary in honour of sister, she was off, leaving all below in confusion and noise again; the boys begging for toasted cheese, her father calling out for his rum and water, and Rebecca never where she ought to be. [MP ch. 38 ]
And in her letters: She is speaking of Edward Bridges:
It is impossible to do justice to the hospitality of his attentions towards me; he made a point of ordering toasted cheese for supper entirely on my account. [Le Faye, Ltr. 46, 27 August, 1805]
Any other cheese or chocolate sightings in Austen? Comment if you find any!
Thank you Marsha and Elsa for your Vermont mentions! I am off to a lunch of chutney and cheese sandwiches to be finished off with some chocolate …. and maybe some…
Copyright @2011 Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont