Who the dickens was Lady Maria Clutterbuck?
One blogger's Incessant Ramblings includes this aside:
(On a completely unrelated note, if I ever write a book or screenplay, I will give all of my characters British last names. They are absolutely the best last names to be found anywhere. Don't believe me? Just look at the cast and crew for the latest Harry Potter film: Egerton, Clutterbuck, Broadbent, Northcutt, Twyford, Eggleton, Daubeny, Appleby, Kirkpatrick -- I'm not making this up, people! Ever wonder why Dickens is so popular? Last names! This is pure literary gold. Hello-ooo! Shakespeare? See, I told you.)Speaking of Dickens, did you know he wrote a cookbook under a pseudonym, according to newly discovered papers?
It is reported that What Shall We Have For Dinner? was written by Dickens under the name Lady Maria Clutterbuck.
For decades academics thought Dickens's wife Catherine wrote the book. But papers found by the great-great grandson of Mark Lemon, a Dickens's family friend, proves different.
The papers, written by Lemon's daughter Betty, describe how Mr and Mrs Dickens would retreat to the study to write down the recipes, reports The Times.
And she describes how: "Various recipes were discussed and eventually a cookery book was compiled. The book created quite a sensation, but how much greater it would have been if had been known that Charles Dickens himself had a finger in the pie. The secret was, however, strictly kept."
Tim Matthews, 73, Lemon's relation told The Times: "I was going through hundreds of pages of family memories during a clear out to make space in the house.
"I've had them since 1976 when my grandmother died but never got round to sorting them out. Some are quite scurrilous. When I read the scraps about Dickens and the cookery book I was very excited."
Peter Ackroyd, a Dickens biographer, said: "This is very exciting. It is quite rare to find a new document about Dickens. It was understood that Catherine Dickens compiled a cookery book so evidence that Dickens had a hand in it is new."
The book was published in October 1851 and caused a sensation with its recipes for giblet soup, lamb's head and cold custard pudding.