Susans Secrets
A Victorian Kitchen in Wales

susans-secrets-book2  susans-secrets-book2


The battered old suitcase had lain half-forgotten in the attic for years.

Sample pages from the book

When Jenny Kenna opened it she found among the dusty family papers a surprising treasure. An old handwritten notebook. Her grandmother, Susan Webb, had started work at fifteen in the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ world of Victorian Wales. And in the notebook she carefully wrote the details of the savouries, cakes and puddings she learnt to make under the stern eye of the cook.

Jenny, decided to work her way through grandmother’s notebook and make and bake everything in it. It was a journey into the life of a young kitchen maid more than a century ago. ‘When I was a little girl,’ says Jenny, ‘I loved my grandmother, and loved being in her kitchen when she cooked.’

kitchen1This book sets out her grandmother’s story and shows in a clear and easy-to-read form how to prepare the food Victorians loved. Jenny recruited a team of tasters and testers. ‘Everything’s delicious, just as grandmother used to make. It was like eating history, a taste of the past – and the recipes won’t break the bank.’

Jenny’s grandmother was born in west Wales in 1877 and started work as a maid in the household of a lawyer in Pembroke. The book provides a fascinating insight into a young girl’s life in service. The book contains more than seventy recipes for cakes, puddings and savouries, with a few Victorian surprises – such as how to make a gallon of orange gin.

‘The Mixing Bowl’
mixing-bowl2This is the original bowl that Susan used.

Hundreds upon hundreds of cakes, puddings and breads have been mixed in this bowl.
In fact, most of the recipes in Susan’s notebook were prepared in this!

This old terracotta bowl is about 110 years old. It has travelled far and wide and still is in good shape and probably fit for another 100 years of cake and pudding making!