Monday, April 7, 2014

The Novel Bakers Present Beatrix Potter Week

The Novel Bakers present 
Beatrix Potter Week.
At Home with Beatrix Potter
It's almost Easter, a time when porcelain bunnies appear on mantels. I myself have a modest collection of figurines, including Peter Rabbit.

I also collect books about Beatrix Potter, the literary genius behind Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter.
Beatrix Potter grew up sketching the world outside of her nursery window in London. She led a structured, somewhat isolated existence (very common with upper class Victorian children) and learned to entertain herself. However, each summer, art and imagination ignited when her family traveled around the UK. In the Lake District, Beatrix honed her keen interest in nature, and she painted pictures of animals, insects, and flowers.
At Home with Beatrix Potter
By the turn of the century, Beatrice had become a skilled artist. Peter Rabbit came into existence when she mailed "picture letters" to a friend's chronically ill son. Around this time, children's picture books had become popular, and Beatrice decided to write about Peter's adventures. But The Tales of Peter Rabbit was rejected by numerous publishers, and Beatrix decided to privately print the book. The charming stories were accompanied by gorgeous, lifelike pen-and-ink illustrations, and the copies sold briskly. A publishing company presented her with a contract.
The rest is history.
All these years later, the Peter Rabbit series is still in print--and books are written about Beatrix's garden, home, and the stories behind her famous tales. I'm constantly discovering new titles. When Jain told me about Country Cooking, I bought it (and Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life) immediately.

I could cook meals all year from this book--and I might. Many recipes are accompanied by anecdotes: 


Cucumber and Strawberry Salad
When Beatrix Potter first bought Hill Top, her farm in the Lakeland village of Near Sawrey, she discovered the house was overrun with rats. She wrote to Millie Warne, of the publishing family, about her battle with the vermin. 'The rats have come back in great force, two big ones were trapped in the shed here, raising babies in the cucumber frame.'
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers was based upon the imaginary adventures of a pair of Hill Top rats.





Cucumber and Strawberry Salad
2 American Cucumbers
12 oz large strawberries
Salt and freshly milled pepper
pinch of caster sugar
3 tablespoons dry white whine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
A few borage flowers for garnish
(I added mint, too)

Peel cucumbers. Cap berries and slice thickly.
Arrange berries and cucumbers in alternating circles.
Season with salt, pepper, sugar. Spoon the wine over the salad
and sprinkle with tarragon.  Chill. Before serving,
garnish with a few blue borage flowers. (I used pansies.)

Serves: 6







springtime magic--recipes, tablescaping, and more.  You're invited to follow our adventures during Beatrix Potter Week on Pinterest.
Thanks for stopping by today. 
The Novel Bakers will return Tuesday.

Favorites from my Bookshelf: 
Beatrix Potter: At Home in the Lake District by Susan Denyer, Frances-Lincoln Limited, London.
Beatrix Potter's Country Cooking by Sara Paston-Williams; photography by Ian O'Leary, F. Warne and Company (Beatrice's original publisher).


I'm participating in the following parties:
Metamorphosis Monday
Inspire Me Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesdays
Seasonal Sundays







Pin It

Social Bookmarking

31 comments:

  1. Your salad is gorgeous Michael! And I love the saying at the end, words to live by for sure:@)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank, Lynn. You're so right about that saying!

      Delete
  2. Now that's my kind of salad! It's so colorful and mouth-watering. I just love fresh strawberries and I love Beatrix Potter. If this is a preview of this week, I cannot wait for the rest! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting, Cippy. I can't wait to visit the girls to get more layers of Beatrix Potter. Fun!

      Delete
  3. Your figurines are adorable including Tom Kitten! I'd love to peruse the pages of At Home with Beatrix Potter and the quote you shared... We enjoyed that salad too but yours is a work of art, too pretty to eat with your pansies! Thanks for the a start to a delicious week, I'm looking forward to hopping along with you! ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The journey has been delicious. I've made cucumber salads and salads that included strawberries, but I never thought to blend the two. Looking forward to visitin' with you, my dear!

      Delete
  4. Hi Michael Lee! Thank you for the history on Beatrix Potter. The cucumber strawberry salad sounds crunchy and taste-tempting with the sweetness of the strawberries. Your picture of it is just spectacular and vibrant! What a pretty addition it would make for an Easter buffet. Wow! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kitty--I'm happy to see your smiling face this morning.

      Delete
  5. SQUEAL! those wee bunnies have just captured my heart! i adore your shots, they put a bit of magic into easter. love seeing your collection of books.

    i am so happy you liked the cookbook, me too, i have made so many recipes, i only quit because i finally had to get all my 20 posts put together or i would still be cooking now!

    we are twins, actually triplets on this salad, wasn't it not only beautiful but delicious? we adored the fresh combination. my photos pale in comparison to yours... i read something mary pinned, comparison is the thief of joy, i agree, i just have to remember how much i too loved this salad, sure its not as prettily done as yours, but i had fun... it just looks funner at your house!

    LOVED YOUR POST! omg i am feeling the joy waver in me when i see all you girls do! i did my posts a wee bit odd this time, i am telling a silent story, first we meet the bunnies in the garden, then harvesting and finally at the table. we then have a little love affair and soon many tales to come... in other words, it drags on and on and on, i am questioning my own silliness!

    meanwhile i will sit back and enjoy the pros!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just visited your garden--what a treat. If this is opening day, then we are in for a fabulous week. I'm looking forward to seeing what you and Mary cooked. In addition to the recipes, I love how the cookbook is formatted--and the index is one of the best. It's so easy to find things when my bookmarks fall out. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Michael Lee, Your salad looks like a perfect summer lunch--sweet and cool and crunchy with a little wine splash! I'm looking forward to all the posts this week. Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That recipe makes me wonder what other combinations I have overlooked. lol So happy you're here, Linda.

      Delete
  8. Michael Lee, I've been eagerly awaiting this week. What an fabulous start. The salad is too beautiful to eat. I would sit and stare in awe. I've pinned this image and will recreate this one. Amazing! Cucumber and strawberries…..who would have thought? Your styling with the pot of cabbage and black and white bunnies on the carrot (I have these guys too! They are favorites here.) is charming! Thanks for sharing all this joy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Sarah. That bunny figurine sits on my kitchen shelf year-round--it's such a smile maker!

      Delete
  9. Michael, your salad looks delicious. Have you seen the movie, Mrs. Potter? It stars Renée Zellweger as Beatrix. It is a lovely movie. It just recently ran on televisions and I was quiet taken with it. Her story is quiet remarkable for a woman author in her time.

    Madonna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen the film. I'll check Hulu and Netflix. It's the perfect day make a pot of tea an settle in with Beatrix--a chilly, rainy day.

      Delete
  10. The salad is almost too pretty to eat, it sounds so yummy and since I have all the ingredients I am going to prepare it for dinner this week.
    I adore Beatrix Potter, her life story is enchanting. I am so happy her stories continue to amuse all of us today. The movie mentioned above is simply called "Miss Potter" and it is a wonderful tale of Beatrix.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy the salad, Mary. I agree with you about Beatrix Potter--her life's work goes beyond the books, as Hill Top (the gardens, renovation, farming) continues to fascinate. I'm looking up Miss Potter on Hulu right now.

      Delete
  11. I look forward to the Novel Bakers episodes with fun anticipation. None of you have disappointed either.
    Your strawberry and cucumber salad was pinned before I finished reading your post. Delightful thoughts of the flavors mingled and the visual delighted the eye!
    I visited Hill Top a few years back and it was amazing. Frankly it was so dark inside I can't image reading and writing in such dark rooms. Of course, I had the movie in mind and the real thing was totally different.
    Beatrix Potter was an amazing and talented woman.
    My children's book by her has eight of her stories and was published in 1977. I am reading them to our grandchildren now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonnie, I know you treasure your book, along with sharing the tales with your grandchildren. Thank you so much for visiting!

      Delete
  12. I LOVE your Beatrix Potter! I am inspired by your creativity. You whet my appetite for collecting all things Beatrix Potter. Charming vintage books come to life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought a used BP gardening book, and it was stuffed with magazine clippings and garden layouts. A treasure! Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  13. Your salad is stunning, and I am mesmerized by its beauty, as well as the tale of Beatrix Potter's childhood and her dreamy sketches~she created a magical world for generations to come and I can't wait to share her stories with my grandchildren. The Novel Bakers are once again bringing wonderful magic into our lives!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, Michael Lee! I love your adorable little bunny statues! And that salad looks scrumptious! Two things I love...cucumbers and strawberries! Thanks for always sharing amazing photos, recipes, and thoughts straight from your heart! Hugs... :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. another reader reporting in about your salad! Gorgeous. Just put it in my menu for Easter sunday. NEVER thought to mix strawberry and cucumber together. But bound with wine?? Perfecto!!
    I never read Beatrice potter as a child. But now with two granddaughters.....I must! Together!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Those little bunnies are adorable. What a pretty way to display your lovely collection. And that salad looks amazing and delicious. Thanks for visiting me and leaving me your sweet comment.

    Janet
    rosemary-thyme.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Visiting from A Stroll Thru Life tonight. That gorgeous salad caught my eye ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for the salad recipe; mine will never look that pretty! I love the story of B Potter. We have many bunnies for Easter and Peter Rabbit dishes for all occasions. They make me smile.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your salad is a work of art! I love all things Beatrix Potter. I'll have to go in search of that cookbook! I'm visiting from Seasonal Sundays.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The salad looks great, and I love all of the Beatrix Potter details. Score!

    ReplyDelete
  21. That looks beautiful! I will have to try this since I am trying to eat more salad all the time.
    Blessings,
    d

    ReplyDelete