One thing I am very good at is being a reader. I can read, ignoring all other distractions, for hours, days, (perhaps given the opportunity) months, or years. (If only someone would pay me well for this skill. Professional reader of fiction—this job has a ring to it.) This reading is what made me aspire to be a writer.
One aspect that I enjoy about being a writer is exploring different cultures and times. This requires research, and while it is not fiction reading, it is still something that I enjoy. When I write about specific times/places, I research the culture, the habits of its people, and the rules of the different levels of society.
I have recently been researching the history and customs of tea in England for a project I hope to start soon. The most surprising fact for me is that the tradition of tea drinking did not start until 1662 when King Charles II ruled England.
The nicest aspect of this research are all of the recipes that I discovered. My family and I will be trying them over the next several months with a few modifications for modern cooking.
The following web sites I have found to be very helpful:
This website provides a lot of information on the traditions surrounding tea time.
Of course, it is helpful to know how people were expected to behave at these meals.
This also provides a bevy of recipes for anyone wanting to host a Regency era dinner party. (I plan on doing this themed-party someday—hopefully this fall. I need time to practice with the recipes.)
The Literary Detectives
This website discusses the history of tea time as well.
The Historic Cakes of Spitalfields
This has some interesting recipes for baked goods.
I hope you enjoy!