A Girl's Gotta Eat...Lobster Patties

One of the fun things about having a new release is celebrating with my “release buddies”–author friends who also have a new book out. It’s even more fun if both the books are holiday stories! Today in celebration of the release of Plaid Tidings, I’m hosting Theresa Romain, whose terrific Season for Scandal is also on the bookstore shelves right now.

You’ve heard of Wife Swap. We’re doing a Blog Swap! While she’s visiting here, I’m taking over her blog with a fun recipe and 3 chances to win my Christmas novella My Lady Below Stairs over at her cyber-house.

Take it away, Theresa. My blog is now yours.


Even fictional characters need to eat. After all, mealtimes in historical romances aren’t just for filling the stomachs of our heroes and heroines. Meals in fiction are a chance to build relationships or destroy them, to demonstrate manners (or lack thereof) and social class (or lack thereof).

In SEASON FOR SCANDAL, my newest holiday historical romance, the heroine is a newlywed who doesn’t really know how to act in society. Jane is deeply in love with Edmund, but theirs is a marriage of convenience. And neither of them understands what the other person needs or wants in their relationship…at first. (You guys know they’ll figure it out before the HEA, right?)

At their first society ball as a married couple, Jane makes several social blunders. She’s determined to learn from her mistakes—and soon, food becomes involved.


Season for ScandalShe would observe and learn. A likely-looking subject meandered by: a laughing noblewoman in ivory silk and lace in conversation with a knot of friends. As Jane watched, she adjusted the angle of her head; the beau monde had beautiful posture, their chins always high. And the smiles—they hardly showed any teeth, did they? Smiles were mysterious; laughter was subdued.

And the curtsy; she realized now, there were infinite degrees of obeisance. She must bend her knees more—like so.

“Lady Kirkpatrick, you honor me.”

Jane continued her observations for two full seconds before she recalled that she was Lady Kirkpatrick. And that she had just unintentionally greeted someone.

She turned and saw that man from India—Mr. Bellamy—who had been at her wedding. He had been speaking with one of Lord and Lady Alleyneham’s daughters, and they were both standing near the refreshment table.

Jane’s stomach gave a curious growl, and she realized she was as eager for lobster patties as she was for a test of her newly observed behaviors.

After a bit of polite conversation, Jane gets her hands on some much-wanted food. This is social food, dainty and lovely and not meant to be filling.

Bellamy returned just then with a plate of tiny, fussy foods. “Now, Lady Kirkpatrick, it will be supper before long. If you can manage not to commit murder for the next half-hour, I think you’ll make it through the evening right enough.”

Jane accepted the plate and began to eat. The offerings were the most delicious dainties she’d ever tasted, the lobster patties buttery and pleasantly rich. “Thank you,” she managed to say when the food had all but vanished. “For the plate. Thank you.”

“Very welcome, my lady. It’s the least a gentleman can do.”


Except for the lobster patties, nothing in this exchange is quite as it ought to be. Jane shouldn’t gobble down food in a ballroom. And Bellamy? He’s hardly a gentleman, as the story soon proves. *halts typing fingers before they can reveal spoilers*

So let’s talk some more about lobster patties—because they’re a staple of historical romance ballrooms, and because Jane couldn’t stop eating them. During the Regency, lobster wasn’t as fancy a food as we think of it today. But seafood made great patties, which could easily be served as ballroom refreshments.

Here’s a recipe for lobster patties from a 1808 cookbook, ART OF COOKERY by “A Lady.” First we’re going to need to make our dough:

Patty image 1Then the recipe gets more complicated. We are next to press this pastry dough into “small patty-pans” (think of a muffin tin) and somehow put a top crust on, baking a hollow pastry shell which we’ll fill later. The author recommends we “put a bit of crust into all patties, to keep them hollow while baking.”

The recipe for the lobster filling is based upon the one for oysters. We’ll mix the meat

patty2Instead of including “oyster-liquor,” though, we’ll tinker with the ingredients a bit:

patty3Now, how to get our savory filling into those pastry shells? I have no idea. The cookbook’s author simply says “fill the shells.” Assuming you’re dexterous enough to do this without breaking the pastry, you should wind up something more like a little pie or quiche than a modern crab cake.

Have you ever read in a novel about a food that you’d like to try? Let us know! One random commenter will win a copy of my 2012 Christmas romance, SEASON FOR SURRENDER, winner’s choice of print or digital. This giveaway will close on 10-10-13. Open Internationally!

Theresa RomainBio: Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book.

Website: http://theresaromain.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTheresaRomain
Twitter: @TheresaRomain

SEASON FOR SCANDAL back cover blurb:


ScandalJane Tindall has never had money of her own or exceptional beauty. Her gifts are more subtle: a mind like an abacus, a talent for play-acting—and a daring taste for gambling. But all the daring in the world can’t help with the cards fixed against her. And when Edmund Ware, Baron Kirkpatrick, unwittingly spoils her chance to win a fortune, her reputation is ruined too. Or so she thinks, until he suggests a surprising mode of escape: a hasty marriage. To him. On the surface, their wedding would seem to satisfy all the demands of proper society, but as the Yuletide approaches, secrets and scandals turn this proper marriage into a very improper affair.

Book order links:

Print: amazon • barnes & noble • book depository • books-a-million • indiebound • kensington • posman bookspowell’s • watermark

Ebook: ibook • kensington • kindle • nook 


Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I’m talking about a Season for Scandal, of course, though I’d give the lobster patties a try too! So here’s what you need to do. Leave a comment here for a chance to win Theresa’s backlist title, Season for Surrender, pop over to her blog for 3 chances to win My Lady Below Stairs from me, and then run out and buy Theresa’s wonderful new Season for Scandal.

You will thank me later.

41 thoughts on “A Girl’s Gotta Eat…Lobster Patties

  1. Aretha z says:

    Hi Theresa and Mia . I read Heidi when I was a little girl. That book made me love to try milk n cheese. Before I read that book I hate milk :).

  2. Karri Lyn Halley says:

    I’m game to try just about anything and if I’m hungry while reading, everything sounds great. When planning a story, I like to think about what the main characters would drink–coffee, tea, alcohol. I’m neither a coffee or alcohol drinker, so I buy some of each for my husband and he describes them to me so I can decide if it fits the character. Then we’re both happy!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      It is possible to make a beverage part of a character. I can’t think about Captain Picard without hearing “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”

      1. Karri Lyn Halley says:

        Or a martini shaken, not stirred.

  3. Alexisa N. says:

    I’ve had some recipes I’ve tried from books like a drink mix or a dessert that I’ve looked up. I thnk so far my favorite is Blueberry Buckle. One of the most interesting to me was probably haggis, that is after I looked it up to se what it was.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      We had haggis when we visited Scotland last June and it was delicious! We just didn’t think about what it was. ;-)

  4. Glenda says:

    mmmm Lobster. :-) I do love to read historical recipes. The big drawback to food being a centerpiece in any novel is that it makes me hungry.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Mia says:

      I always think of the descriptions of food as part of the sensual experience. I want my readers to slip into my heroine’s shoes and eating the petit fours (or Clootie Dumpling!) is part of the whole package.

      1. Glenda, ha! That happens to me too. :)

        Mia, I really enjoy reading about food that adds to the setting of a story or gives character insight. And if it sounds yummy–well, as Glenda said, I might just get as hungry as the characters!

  5. Kirsten says:

    I love to read about recipes in romance novels!! I also enjoy old cookery books. It’s such a great way to learn more about food from a time. I have not made many things though after reading about food. I’m a veggie and most things, like the Lobster Patties are therefor not for me. Did once make Mrs Beetons apple soup & that was nice, kinda like a thin spicey savory warm apple sauce…

    1. Mia says:

      My niece is a vegetarian, and she seems happy with that choice. I would miss so many savory meat dishes, however, apple soup does sound intriguing.

    2. Kirsten, did you use Mrs. Beeton’s Victorian recipe? That’s so cool! As you say, old cookbooks give insight into how people thought about and made food in the past. Apple soup sounds like it would make a great fall dessert or snack.

      1. Kirsten says:

        Yes I did use the Victorian recipe! It sounded a bit strange but I had to try it :D made it twice and liked it still. But it’s been a while and maybe I need to have another look at Mrs Beetons cookery book, to see if there is another dish I might attempt…

  6. Sarah Meral says:

    Hey Teresa,

    I often get hungry for the food in books, especially in historicals.
    I love have a very simple meal with fresh bread (if I get it, even baked like they did in the past), good cheese, maybe some bacon, etc. and a good beer :)
    When such simple meals in books are described I always want to share them :)


    1. Sarah, that sounds like a great meal to me too. Sometimes the simple foods are the best. :) In one scene of SEASON FOR SCANDAL, the hero and heroine enjoy making toast together!

  7. Marcy Shuler says:

    I’d love to try lobster patties. They sound delicious!

    I recently read Kristan Higgins’ book THE NEXT BEST THING. The heroine is a pastry chef and works in her family’s Hungarian bakery. There were so many incredible pastries described. It was torture. LOL

    I can’t wait to read this book, Theresa.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Kristan’s books are amazing. And so are Theresa’s!

      1. *hands Mia a bouquet* Thanks, Mia, my dear. :)

        Marcy, I absolutely love THE NEXT BEST THING. And you’re so right about the food in that story. Even the infamous rock-hard iced pumpkin cookies sounded good to me!

  8. may says:

    Not really… but I feel like eating cookies while reading a lot!

    1. May, that sounds like a great way to spend an evening. Or an afternoon, or a morning…

  9. Glittergirl says:

    I don’t remember a specific food but the gentlemen are always drinking brandy and port. I had to go out and get a bottle of each to find out what they tasted like…I like brandy but not port, lol. Then there’s the scents they wear, especially the guys because I know what the ladies scents smell like. I had to go to an essential oil shop in town to find out what some of the gentlemen’s scents were like…I really like sandelwood and pichule (not spelled right, darn). Thanks for the giveaway. I’ve chatted with you at Discover a New Love — I’m lefty =).

    1. Hi, Glittergirl–of course I remember you! *left-handed fist bump* That’s so cool that you did your own research to learn about some of the references in books. Awesome way to make history come to life.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I was interested to learn that lavender was considered a masculine fragrance at one time.

  10. I hear you, Barbara; I won’t be making lobster patties anytime soon! But like you, I enjoy looking at recipes that make up part of a story. It can help the story come to life in a new way.

  11. Hi Theresa,

    I enjoy looking at recipes at the end of stories. I’ve never tried to cook any though.
    I’m in a rut with my cooking.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Cooking has changed a lot through the years. Traditional recipes can be so complicated compared to new ones. (Be sure to check my recipe for Clootie Dumplings on Theresa’s blog if you don’t believe me!) And it is easy to get into a rut. Most of the time, I simply don’t have the creative energy to put into cooking.

  12. Katie Lee says:

    Typically I’m more put off by food discussed in novels (because it isn’t often described unless it is an oddity to us today IME). However, there have been a few desserts that I’d happily consume.

    Susan Mallery actually has a Fool’s Gold Cookbook! I thought that looked pretty neat for concept.

    I’d love to see a dessert version for my beloved historical romances….

    1. Katie, have you read Laura Florand’s contemporary romances? I’ve never read such gorgeous descriptions of chocolates and pastries. Sherry Thomas’s Delicious is another novel that makes me want to eat every dessert ever.

  13. Beth Re says:

    I’ve never tried lobster patties either but being from Maryland and eating crab cakes as often as I can I think I would like it

    1. Yay, a fellow seafood fan! Beth, I live in the Midwest now, so I’m sadly far from crab cake territory. But I bet you would like these patties, too.

  14. Zoe York says:

    I love the morsel/dab/scant measures. They’re speaking my language! I don’t get how you’re supposed to fill the shell, though … feels like a cruel joke to be so close to making something that sounds so good only to be stymied. ;) I’d probably make tart shells, open topped, and separately back little tops on a cookie sheet.

    Earlier this year I bought Jennifer Lohmann’s debut novel because it was about a chef who opened a fancy Polish restaurant. The book left me super hungry, both for her fancier versions, and the more familiar comfort food that the heroine’s mother made as well.

    1. Zoe, I think you have a good plan for making the pastry shells. There must be some trick to them that cooks would learn by observation, and it was so obvious at the time that this cookbook author didn’t even bother to mention it. But “fill the shells” isn’t quite enough guidance for me.

      The Jennifer Lohmann book is Reservations for Two, right? I loved it! I realllly wanted pierogies after reading it.

  15. Linda Thum says:

    No, I’m a very picky eater plus a vegetarian. It’d take a lot to tempt me!

    1. Gotcha–lobster patties aren’t your thing. :) Are you a dessert-lover, Linda? I’ve read books with some scrumptious-sounding desserts that I wish I could try.

  16. Cate S says:

    Not much of a seafood lover.. but your receipe makes me wonder when did standard measurements for cooking start?

    1. Cate, as far as I know, standard measurements caught on in recipes in the 1890s with Fannie Farmer’s cookbook. Before then, measurements certainly existed, but recipes usually referred to “morsel” and “dab” and “least amount” quantities, as you see in this 1808 recipe.

  17. Sheila M says:

    What fun, and never had lobster patties, but I do love lobster with lots of lemon and butter.

    1. Sheila, I’ve never had lobster patties either, but they sound good, don’t they? Even 200 years ago, this lobster recipe included butter. A timeless combo!

  18. Ada says:

    Hi Theresa, awesome to see you doing a blog swap with Mia :) I don’t think I’ve read any books that make me want try anything…then again, I’m a real picky eater. I have I’d consider eating it!

    1. Hi, Ada–thanks for stopping by! It’s fun to be here. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *