Virginia Woolf the English writer was born on this day in 1882. She was born into a family that had wealth, social standing, and a rich intellectual and literary life. She became famous as a novelist, slightly infamous as a member of the ‘Bloomsbury Group, and ultimately she became a tragic story herself.
In addition to her published, public, writing, Woolf kept a journal. Early in World War II, on
“And now with some pleasure I find that it’s seven; and must cook dinner. Haddock and sausage meat. I think it is true that one gains a certain hold on sausage and haddock by writing them down.”
Less than three weeks later, on March 28, fearful of the return of the mental illness which had plagued her all her life, she loaded up her pockets with stones and drowned herself in the river Ouse near her Sussex home.
There are many references to food in Virginia Woolf’s diaries, and it is clear that it was one of the pleasures in her life. Even though she noted the pleasant anticipation of cooking her wartime dinner, perhaps her diary entry also tells of her awareness of her fragile hold on day to day things. Or perhaps it was a writer’s awareness that writing about it is a way of getting a grip on any subject at all.
I give you a wartime sausage-meat recipe, from Ministry of Food Facts Leaflets produced in 1941.
(Mrs. L. Harbourne)
First of all, soak a large slice of bread in milk. Now mix together ¼ lb minced veal, ¼ lb. minced beef, ¼ lb. sausage meat and a few minced bacon pieces. Add to them a small onion or one or two spring onions (if you can get them) sliced finely, a grated raw potato and salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze the milk out of the slice of bread and mash the bread into the meat mixture. If you can spare it, bind the mixture with a small beaten egg; otherwise use the milk in which the bread was soaked. If necessary, add enough white breadcrumbs to make the mixture firm enough to shape into a roll. Sprinkle thickly with brown breadcrumbs or medium oatmeal that has been toasted in an oven, put into a greased baking tin, cover with butter or margarine paper, and bake in good oven for an hour.
This roll can be served hot or cold. It looks most attractive when decorated with strips of anchovy or some sliced, cooked carrot sprinkled with a little chopped parsley.
Monday’s Story …
Quotation for the Day …
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. Virginia Woolf, ‘A room of one’s own.’