#Myrtle Mondays: Victorian Girls on Bicycles!

“We rode our bicycles to the courthouse. They were the most wondrously modern conveyances, right down to the specialized attire they entailed. …Pedaling past Swinburne traffic felt deliciously urgent and dangerous.” —Premeditated Myrtle

Summer 2020 is seeing a surge in the popularity of bike riding, thanks in large part to coronavirus concerns, and efforts to find new ways to enjoy the outdoors in a responsible, socially-distant way.  The late 19th century also saw a cycling boom, with the development of the modern bicycle. For my heroine Myrtle Hardcastle, her bicycle is a key part of her crime-solving equipment. And for many middle-class girls in the Victorian era, the bicycle represented even more. (more…)

#MyrtleMondays: Follow Myrtle Hardcastle on Pinterest!

Great news for Pinterest fans: Myrtle now has her very own Pinterest account! Follow Myrtle Hardcastle’s Pinterest Page for fun and fascinating tidbits from Victorian science and technology, the history of forensic science, everyday life in the 19th century, period images of 19th century kids, Victorian crafts and projects you can make, resources for teachers, and more!

…And, of course, Peony the Cat!

Don’t forget, you can also connect with me, ecb, on Pinterest, too! I have a somewhat broader scope than Myrtle’s boards—you’ll see things that inspire my Maker’s soul, along with Victorian cats, historical costume, linguistics, history, ghosts, and other miscellanea.

Enjoy!

#MyrtleMondays: Stansberry Pie

Premeditated Myrtle is coming your way, along with Cook’s famous Stansberry Pie, October 6, but you can get a head start with this authentic original recipe, below!

Cook’s Christian name was Harriet Stansberry, although I’d never heard her called anything but Cook. I was six years old before I even realized she had another name. One of Father’s favorite dishes was something we called Stansberry Pie, and I once suffered a week of botanical confusion trying to classify the elusive stansberry, which did not appear in any field guide, taxonomy, or recipe book that I could find.

…It turned out to be a tart containing apple, strawberry, and rhubarb. It was rather good, particularly warm out of the oven, with cream.

                                                                          —Premeditated Myrtle

As Myrtle discovers, Stansberry is not a fruit (unlike marionberry), but an old English surname with origins from the Yorkshire place name Stainsborough. (You might have run across the more common spelling of Stansbury—which, sadly, has no pie.) Stansberry also happens to be my mother-in-law’s maiden name (Hi, Judy!)… and for this Myrtle Mondays post, I’m sharing a variation on a family pie recipe, adapted, refined, and reverse-engineered from its fictional counterpart by my husband, C.J.

The magnificent Stansberry Pie, from page to table

Myrtle notes that the Stansberry Pie of Premeditated Myrtle is in fact a tart—which generally means it only has a bottom crust. But what is the point of that? In my considered opinion, fruit pie is a thinly-veiled excuse for indulging in pie crust, so double up on that pastry! (more…)