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Looking For A New Treat-Tuesday Morning, the 20th

Catriona MacGregor

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A small shop, rather dark, but for those enamoured of the printed word a treasure cave.

A cheery fire crackled on the compact hearth, warming the space and liberating the fragrance of fine paper and calfskin. All the modern English authors are in the collection and topics available range from embroidery to exploration, cookery to cuckoldry. The editions are of the finest quality - no cheapjack woodblocks here.

At least one of the partners are always in attendance, Mr Angus being a stout Scot of about 45 and Mr Robertson an Oxford graduate of about 30.


Cat took a deep breath in as she entered the bookshop.  While not quite the enthusiast as Shona, how could one not enjoy the smell of parchment and leather?  Now, she needed some new recipes.  Perhaps they had The Accomplisht Cook by Robert May.  She had heard about it but hadn't gotten her hands on it yet.  It was primarily of savory recipes, but that wouldn't stop her.  Or perhaps The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt. Opened...

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  • 2 weeks later...

The small bell announced an arrival which caused the woman behind a counter to look up from the book open before her. She was of middle years and while not of a beauteous nature her redeeming feature was her smile that reached all the way to her eyes when in use.

Now those same eyes fastened upon the woman who had entered .......

"Good morning. Do come in and close the door."

"Are you here to see my husband then? He's gone down to London a day ago I'm afraid."

"I'm Mrs Angus and perhaps I can help? What are you needing then?"

She gave a small smile of welcome as she waited. Here eyes assessing and wondering what she wanted.

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Cat closed the door behind herself, a returned smile upon her lips.  "Good morning, Mrs. Angus. I'm certain you can help me just fine. I'm looking for cookery books.  I have a tea shop in London and often like to send baked goods to my friends, but I haven't really any savory recipes, unless you count standard Scots fare.  I know of 2 books that might work but perhaps you might have a better idea."  Her clothing was of good quality, though she had opted for a Kelly green walking dress instead of her usual sapphire.

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"A tea shop you say?" 

This had her immediate interest. It was a bit unusual for a woman to have such a thing unless perhaps a widow and she but carried on her late husbands business.

But what a shame if that were the case for she was far too young and yes far to good looking.

"Cookerie Books is it  ...... Well we have some but not near as great as you'd find in London."

"And Savory .... well let me ask you then. Is this for that shop to serve or just for pleasure and to your relations and friends?"

"You might not think it but it does make a difference."

"A great volume will have many as well as the how to's of household management and the like. But a small pocketbook size will be comprised of personal recipes and such."

"Which are you wanting?" 

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  • 1 month later...

Cat took a moment to think.  She did enjoy playing with recipes, adjusting measurement or adding or removing spices, and finding new ways to make items that called for onions and removing them.  Her cook was very good at it, but sometimes she wanted to do the experimentation herself.


"It would start for pleasure.  Until I knew it had an appeal for more than just one or two, then I might start adjusting for more commercial production.  So the pocket sized personal might be best.  I can play with those, I think."  

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Just the thing then."

She gave a small smile and then went back somewhere out of view but was quick to return holding a small wooden box. Setting it on the counter between them once opened it would reveal a fabric covered book which was, as she had called it earlier, of pocket size. Gently removing the fabric she said

A Ladies Passion"  is written by Caroline Smyths who, it claims, had access to some of the most gracious households. It is written in a flowery style but easy to discern. Split into three sections - First Course, Second Course, and Third Course."

"I know hardly original but then it can be forgiven as the recipes therein are quite special. It describes foods served at some Grand Households  as example  ..."

She opened the book and then read aloud  .....

First Course  Salads of damsons, artichokes, cabbage, lettuce, purslane' cucumbers; served with cold dishes of stewed sparrows, larded pheasants, carp, capons in lemon, duck, gulls, stuffed rabbits, pasty of venison and pear.

Second Course  Stark, gannet, heron, pullets, quail, partridge, fresh sturgeon, pasty of red deer venison, chicken baked in candle and fritters.

Third Course Jelly, blancmange, apples with pistachios, pears with caraway, filberts, quince pie, marchipan, and sugar coated wafers.

Recipes then follow. This is but one of several entrees and perhaps amongst them all you might find something that catches your interest." 

"My only copy. Henry Brome at The Star in Little Brittin Street London might have another and I know he has a copy of Mays' An Accomplished Cooke its just had its fourth printing earlier this year."

She handed the book then to be held and examined if the Lady should wish it.

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