As a child, Elizabeth Craig kept a look out for unusual recipes, especially recipes dealing with the royal family. While other girls were out playing games, Craig was carefully copying out recipes from magazines and newspapers, so it is no wonder that she spent her life writing cookery books.
Court Favorites came about a fluke. Craig knew a woman who knew a Princess who had a keen interest in housewifery. They often dined together and the Princess spoke of a household scrapbook kept by Queen Victoria when she was a girl. It came to Queen Victoria from Princess Charlotte; the daughter of George IV and the Queen gave the scrapbook to a housekeeper to use.
The book had recipes written in an old Italian hand and others that were simply undecipherable. There were recipes for wine and peacock as well as elixirs for teeth and complexion. Elizabeth Craig asked if perhaps she might get a recipe or two for a book of royal recipes. Several months later she receive a large parcel of recipes and permission to reprint them Court Favorites was born.
This recipe came written in Queen Victoria's own hand:
Queen Victoria’s Marrow Toasts
Get a large marrow bone and have it well broken. Cut the marrow extracted therefrom into small pieces, about the size of a filbert nut, and parboil same for a minute in boiling water. Drain instantly upon a sieve. Season with pepper and salt, and parsley, and maybe a suspicion of shallot. Toss lightly together and spread upon crisp slices of toast. c. 1845
Ten years earlier at Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria offered up this little recipe for icing.
Icing for Cakes
Mix a pound of refined sugar, sifted very fine with the whites of twenty-four eggs, in an earthen pan. Whisk them well for three or four hours, till the whites are thick and white, and then with a thin broad knife or bunch of feathers, spread it all over the top and sides of the cake. Set the cake before a clear fire and keep it turning continually that it may not change color. But better to place in a cool oven for and hour. This will harden it.
Clearly, it pays to be a Queen. You get to live in Kensington Palace and you don't have to mow the lawn and you have someone to whisk icing for four hours! As much as I love to cook there is no way I’m whisking icing for FOUR hours.