The stories (written mostly in the 50’s; a few posthumously)
are deceptively simple, revolving around the goings-on in small English
villages—like Agatha Christie, but without the murder—and involve above all, I
think, the little earthquakes we all experience in our daily lives and our
attempts to connect to others and reveal what is in our hearts. In the
meantime, there are one’s concerns about the handsome new vicar, jumble sales
and sherry parties, which character will wind up with whom—and how they all
come together to eat!
I recently discovered both Barbara’s sister Hilary Pym and Honor Wyatt published The Barbara Pym Cookbook, compiling actual recipes that Barbara made and featured in her books. I’ve enjoyed making many of these dishes myself, so look here for further posts about what to serve at your next supper or afternoon tea. In the meantime...use these thin Venetian pancakes (like crepes!) to layer in your favorite lasagna recipe instead of pasta sheets—or butter them up with cinnamon and sugar for a different kind of treat. As Sybil Forsythe remarks in A Glass of Blessings, they needn’t be “thin enough to read a love letter through.”
Adapted from The Barbara Pym Cookbook
1 cup milk
1 cup flour, sifted
Beat together eggs and milk, then add to flour and stir just
to combine. Spread a thin amount at a time on a lightly greased griddle or in a
skillet and cook through. Slide your pancake out on a plate and repeat. Makes six or seven large, thin pancakes.