Who here has read Inevitably a Duchess? How could I NOT do a Throwback Thursday post on roasting chestnuts, right? A dear fan even gave me a chestnut roaster that proudly hangs on my office’s inspirational wall! I have nightmares that my crowning achievement as an author is going to involve a scene with a woman wielding a chestnut roaster. That’s Nobel prize stuff, right?
“I’ve never roasted chestnuts before,” Nathan said as he scooted closer to the fire.
Jane put a restraining hand on his shoulder before he scooted not only the roaster but himself into the flames.
“I did it quite often with my mother. Although, I believe it’s a tad less fashionable now,” Jane said, adjusting the chestnuts in the roaster she held for Alec, who sat on her lap trying his best to hide his face from the heat of the flames while still looking brave for his brother.
Roasting chestnuts would have been popular when Jane was a child, and that is what she relates to Nathan as she attempts to distract the children from the fact that they are under lock down in this scene. The popularity of roasting chestnuts declined in the latter half of the 18th century when it began to be perceived as a poor man’s food.
But remember what I said about authors taking liberty?
I knew Jane had to demonstrate her physical strength in some way while protecting the boys to overcome her internal conflicts. And what I needed was some sort of weapon that would allow her to do that. One day while on a play date with my writing partners, Lady Barks-a-lot and Captain Licky, we were visiting fellow Basset hound folk and discovered our friend had a passion for chestnut roasters. There they were dangling from the walls in all their brass glory, brilliantly shiny, intricate at times and very heavy at others. And I said, aha! I know what Jane is going to do. And the rest is, as they say, history.
As made famous by Nat King Cole, now is the time of year to roast chestnuts on an open fire. So get roasting!