Friday, June 30, 2017

What to eat? How? When in Rome, Paris or London, partaking of dinner parties was a ritual fit to burst your buttons! European dining rooms that inspire!

Formal Dining Room at Malmaison where Josephine entertained
before and after Napoleon divorced her.
 If you were invited to a dinner party in the nineteenth century, you would have to be on your manners and either starving or terribly polite!


The meal was hours-long. The service slow and measured. The servants ready to deliver your every need. And the portions to the numerous courses were hearty.

Here are a few of my pictures of houses and dining rooms I adore. In them, kings and queens, emperors and generals ate, laughed and decided the fate of millions of others.
Shall we talk about an average evening and the menu?

Oh, let's!

First, do let out your corset an inch. You're going to need the room to breathe.
Second, roll back your long gloves, darling. No getting those dirty. Just put them in your lap after you've been assisted in your chair by a footman.
Third, remember to sit ramrod straight as your third governess taught you and please do not crush your bustle!
Fourth, you should know which fork or spoon to begin with. Your fourth governess taught you that, remember? Yes, that's right, the soup spoon is the big bowled one.
Remember your nanny's instructions about soup? "Like a ship upon the sea, I scoop my soup away from me!" Good.
That other one above your serving plate? It's for the cream, or shall we say, the ice, later. Hmm. Right.
Fish fork? Tiny, ugly thing. Unmistakeable.
Dinner fork, you'll know right off. Knife too.
Butter knife, ditto.

Now as we begin remember we speak only to the one gentleman on our right. He gets to chat you up for half the meal. If he has not cultivated the art of conversation at teatime with his granny, you must pick up his slack. He needs his bit of talk and you are his to enchant or vice versa, if he is lacking. This means you may well need to be well versed in botany, architecture or archeology, bugs, worms or coal mining. While it is best not to display an understanding of stocks and bonds, it is useful (in your future life as a duchess, etc etc.) to understand farming, goats and sheep, sale thereof, grassland availability on your property, weather patterns. All of this helps immensely when in need of sound dinner conversation.

On to the menu.
First Service:
   Potages (Soup) 
      For example: Consomme or  Puree
   Poisson (Fish)
      Any type: roasted, grilled, sauteed, fried or souped
      Chicken, Beef or Lamb in any cut or form
   Larger Service:
        Beef roast, etc
Second Service:
         Vegetable with meat, fish, protein
           Gateau of fruit (baked, custard, etc with fruit)
Now you can see that you have eaten your way through your corset and volunteer to walk home! The meal was truly heavy. Furthermore, we have now learned that many of the well-to-do in this era suffered from obesity, too few vegetables in their diet and too much protein. The added sugar in desserts did not help make them any healthier. To be so, one had to be selective in portions and in the types of foods consumed.
       As for me, I am happy to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, fresher meals and fish, all of which is deemed safe before it is stocked in our groceries!

(And yes, all of these photographs are mine!)
Napoleon and Josephine's gold plate, minted for him at Sevres China Factory and given to Josephine's son,
Eugene after her death. Thereafter it was owned by a family in Russia until recently when the French Government
bought it back to display here.
Dining room in Palais Imperial at Compiegne, France set for Emperor Napoleon III and his wife.

A bit different, oui? The servants' dining hall in Vaux le Vicomte south of Paris!

Vive la difference! This is the owners' dining room (set with only half a table) in Vaux le Vicomte!
The Pump Room in Bath, England!
Do go for a full cream tea, music, atmosphere and warm mineral water from the spring!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Say Yes to the Scot! Anthology starring Sabrina York and 3 more authors!

You are formally invited to the Highland wedding event of the year. These four lasses are about to meet their matches in an original digital anthology featuring stories from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, and May McGoldrick.
Available June 20th. Preorder Now!
In this retelling of The Princess and The Pea, Laird Alex Munro of Culmore has just five weeks to find a bride and marry her...or else the clan will be cursed with ill luck. Cait MacLeod finds herself caught in a clan feud, and when she tries to stop a deadly raid, she ends up as Alex Munro’s prisoner. With timing running out, is this couple meant to be?
A MATCH MADE IN HEATHER by Anna Harrington
She was the laird's daughter. He was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot with nothing to offer but his heart. Fate tore them apart, but now he's back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?
Their marriage was two decades in the making. The young, educated woman and her highland, pirate husband, betrothed when they were still children. But on the day of their wedding, Elizabeth Hay and Alexander Macpherson are in for a surprise.
THE SCOT SAYS I DO by Sabrina York
Catherine Ross's world is turned upside down when her brother gambles away every penny they own. But to make matters worse? He’s lost everything to none other than Duncan Mackay, the rugged Scot who Catherine loved for years—but he never noticed her, and now she positively loathes him. But her brother’s in danger of going to Newgate, and the despicable Duncan has a plan– she can claim back the money and save her brother. If she marries him…
Duncan glanced at Peter who had dropped back down on the divan and covered his face with one arm. He was no use to either of them at this point. Besides, this business was between himself…and Catherine. He gently pressed her into the king’s chair, took one next to hers and scooted it around until he faced her. “You and Peter have no home now.”
“Not even the Wilds?”
“Not even the stables.” He tried to be as sympathetic as he could. This was difficult for her. Shattering. And it would only get worse. “For you, things are not so bad. You’re a lovely girl. You can marry well.” He ignored her snort. “But for Peter…” He let it hang there like a razor sharp icicle clinging to a roofline as a melt approached.
“But Peter?”
“He has other debts.”
“Oh no.”
“Small ones, but substantial enough for his creditors to ask for retribution.”
They both knew what that meant. Debtors’ prison. A truly nasty end for a feckless lad. But Duncan had the inclination to allow Peter to languish there—at least for a while—to teach the boy a lesson.
“Newgate would kill him,” Catherine whispered.
“It’s not all that bad.”
Her gaze snapped to him. “And how do you know?”
He lifted a brow. He had no intention of telling her that he’d visited and reprieved more than one foolish friend.
“Poor Peter.”
“He did bring this on himself. He gambles like a fiend.” A fiend who thinks he can never lose.
“Can’t you help him?”
Duncan swallowed an outraged laugh. “I believe I already have.”
“I mean, help him more?”
“Buy out all his debts? Return his wealth and property to him? Pat him on his head and charge him to go forth and risk it all again? What kind of fool do you think I am?”
“A heartless one.” She stood and whirled away, which gave him cause to follow.
But honestly, he was not the heartless one here.
When she spun back, he was right behind her and they were far too close. The tips of her breasts brushed against his chest and he nearly swallowed his tongue. She flinched as well, as though the touch had been like a bolt of lightning. She gazed up into his eyes, hers wide and damp. Her lips parted and her pink tongue dabbed out to wet them and his knees nearly failed him.
Damn she was so beautiful. So glorious. He wanted to kiss her now, ravish her. Claim her. He wanted—
“I cannot bear the thought of marrying one of my suitors,” she said, and he was brought back to the moment, his intent, with a powerful lurch.
“There may be a solution.”
She tipped up her delicate chin bravely. “And what might that be?”
So simple. So perfect.
“Marry me.”
Her jaw dropped and he fixated on the sight of her open mouth. If that was not a demand for a kiss, he did not know what was.
He pulled her into his arms, reveling in the warmth, the curves of her slight form, and lowered his head.
She tasted like heaven. Sweet bliss. Just like he remembered from that day when he’d pulled her from the loch and forced her to breathe again. Her scent infused him, enamored him, enraged a long-banked fire within him.
She would be his.
He would have her.
Catherine Ross would be his bride, just as he’d dreamed of for so many years. Just as he’d fought and scrabbled and worked for. His life ambition had come to him and the moment was so sublime…
Until she pulled away and stared at him with an odd mixture of shock and fear limning her eyes.
And she hauled back her delicate fist.
And punched him in the jaw.
By the time he’d recovered from the shock of what he could only interpret as her refusal of his suit, she’d whirled away and flounced off to her chambers—God only knew where—in the bowels of the enormous mansion.
But this was only the first salvo in his campaign to win her.
And win her, he would.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cerise went to #Paris! It's #research #champagne #chocolate #France #romance and my Pictures!

Yes, dahlinks, I went off to Paris!
USA's 100th Anniversary of WWI
Drop me a comment here about what you'd bring back!
A French comte or marquis?
All of the above???
Me, too.
Here are a few of my pictures from trips past!
And here's a hint: Sign up for my newsletter for more info here:
Mr. DeLand and I at a chateau along the River Marne
when we spent two and a half weeks trailing the American Expeditionary Forces battle lines of 1917-1918.
Did you realize that the 100th anniversary of American involvement in WWI occurs now?
Center Hall in Opera Garnier, Paris!
Josephine's Malmaison in Parisian countryside, her dining room!
This charming church is in Varennes, France (near Verdun) where the French king, Louis XVI and his wife
Marie Antoinette and their two children took refuge in 1791. Sadly, they were caught by the villagers
and returned to Paris where they died at the guillotine.
Once the House of Worth stood in this #7 Rue de la Paix near the Opera Garner in Paris!
Cathedral of St. Peter on fashionable Rue di Rivoli in Paris