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Regency Romance and Recipe from author Linore Burkard
Sunday, June 30, 2024 by Sally Jo Pitts

Investigating Food Used in Novels

This month’s food scene and recipe comes from Linore Burkard’s Regency Romance Before the Season Ends


In Before the Season Ends, the handsome, rich, but famously cantankerous Mr. Mornay, called "the Paragon" by society--a longtime bachelor and catch of the season--escorts the loveable Ariana Forsythe to a Carlton House party (the prince regent's London palace) to the astonishment of all. Toward the end of the evening, again to everyone's utter amazement, he stands up with Ariana for a dance. (Taking to the floor to dance was called "standing up.")

 Lord Horatio, agreeable and hopeful, has just taken Ariana's hand and requested that she stand up with him. Mr. Mornay's surprising response marks a turning point in the book. Following the dance, he escorts her for refreshments, and thus we get to introduce some upper class Regency cuisine to the scene.   

 

Here’s the Scene:

“I think I should have the honour, Horatio. She is, after all, by the prince’s account, my lady, is she not?”

“A stroke of luck that he should have announced it so!” His lordship looked around. “And the house is packed.” But he had not released Ariana’s gloved hand, and he placed it upon his arm, keeping one of his hands over hers.

“You never stand up to dance, and since you have allowed your charming partner to dance with most every gentleman here, I insist you grant me the opportunity.”

“Another time; I hear the strains of a waltz, and I fancy myself in the right mood for one.”

“A rare mood, indeed!” He had no small surprise on his face. Ariana was equally surprised, but not unhappy. Lord Horatio reluctantly released her hand, requesting that she promise him a future dance, which she did gladly.

 Mr. Mornay held out his arm.

“May I have the honour?”

“You may, indeed!”

“Beware, Mornay.” Lord Horatio spoke as they started off for the dance. “You may chase her until she catches you.” He gave them an affable flourish with his arm, motioning them onto the floor, and there was no time for a response to the cryptic warning.

As they took to the floor, Ariana was conscious of deference being given them. Everyone scrambled to make room for them and there was much smiling and exclaiming. Some men shouted out amiable jests to her partner, which he completely ignored...

She would not have guessed that a gentleman who danced so little in society could yet dance so well. He swept her along smoothly, making the steps seem simpler than she had found them in practice. She suddenly realized this was her first public waltz, at Carlton House, and yet she had nothing to worry about, thanks to Mr. Mornay’s strong lead.

In addition, she was flattered because she had attended many a ball with her aunt during which he failed to stand up even once. Their eyes met and Ariana smiled. Was it her imagination? Or was he looking at her differently? His tumultuous dark eyes were intently upon her but for once Ariana felt no incrimination coming from them. It was a surprisingly pleasant experience. Too pleasant. She needed to guard her heart.

Mr. Mornay was exactly the sort of man her father had warned about. A man of fashion, fortune, and figure but without an interest in the things of God. 

Meanwhile, the company was bubbling with the thought that Mr. Mornay had fallen for a debutante.

“Did she truly come upon his arm? I thought Prinny was joking!” The floor was slowly clearing of other couples as everyone was curious to enjoy the sight of the Paragon doing a waltz. Even the prince, seated now, looked on with great pleasure, nodding his head in time.

“This is too far outside Mornay’s style,” one man spoke into the prince’s ear, “for it not to be a genuine tendre!” After this night, no one doubted he was declaring his affections. He had broken precedents with Miss Forsythe...

It was near midnight when Mr. Mornay took Ariana for refreshments, which was through a great opened double-door to an adjoining chamber. The floor was carpeted, footmen abounded, and, though the menu was service a' la française, there were servants to carve one’s meat or fill one’s glass.

Ariana delighted in the rich wallpaper, the elegant trimmings, beautiful china and golden utensils. The damasked table glittered with sparkling crystal and delectable dishes. She was a princess in another world tonight, a dream world where all of life was beautiful... 

Mr. Mornay stood back politely while she chose refreshments. She accepted slices of beef and turkey au jus from a footman, then helped herself to cold ham with French mustard, apricot tart, and Maids of Honour; herbed asparagus and green beans; a poached pear and raspberry cream. Many more dishes beckoned for her attention but Ariana was in a state of high excitement and was not certain she could even consume the contents on her plate.

The guests came and went for refreshments at will, the men standing politely back while the ladies helped themselves. Once Ariana had finished eating, Mr. Mornay escorted her back to the ballroom, leaving then to have a bite himself.

She soon found herself surrounded by a group of boisterous guests who were telling stories. She was fascinated by tales of those who had encountered highwaymen or footpads, even in Mayfair! A footpad, she was assured, would slit a man’s throat for mere shillings…

 

This event marks the start of things heating up between Ariana and the Paragon. Fun, fun, fun! And to get a taste of the refreshments being served at the Carlton House party in the London palace, author Linore Burkard shares this recipe.

                         Lemon Curd Maids of Honor Tarts

For the recipe Click Here.

 

More about Before the Season Ends:

Ariana Forsythe is sent to her wealthy aunt's London townhouse and thrust into the world of the upper crust. Trouble finds her with an instant enemy in Lady Covington, an aging beauty. Ariana must team up with the Paragon, the darkly handsome and powerful Phillip Mornay, to quench the scandal. She can trust God's hand in her life, but can she resist Mr. Mornay's increasing claim on her heart? When she finds herself betrothed to him, she is faced with a terrible choice--and she must make it soon, before the season ends!

 

About the author:

Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite and a hopeless romantic. An award-winning hybrid author, besides Regency romance, she also writes contemporary romance and, as L. R. Burkard, YA Apocalyptic suspense. A magna cum laude English Lit. graduate of CUNY, Linore now lives with her husband and five children in Ohio where she is active at church and president of the Dayton Christian Scribes (but drops everything for Masterpiece Theatre or Mets baseball—it’s a toss-up!). Check out Linore's books at LinoreBurkard.com/books.

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