Author Joseph Conrad’s Wife Published a Cookbook

the conradsTin House recently published a beautiful illustrated edition of “Heart of Darkness,” a Joseph Conrad novel in the 20th century literary canon. Joseph Conrad, though long passed, is no stranger to publication, and his name has been part of literary conversation for the last 100 years, when his novel Chance thrust him into the mainstream in 1913.

Little did I know, however, that Joseph Conrad’s wife, Mrs. Joseph Conrad (first name Jessie) also published a book – a cookbook of recipes she’d collected from around the world. In the January 1922 edition of The Delineator, available for free here, Joseph Conrad writes an introduction for his wife’s cookbook, and I believe part of the cookbook is also included in the article.

This how The Delineator’s editor starts off the piece:

Literary critics have said that the work of Joseph Conrad will live longer than that of any other writer in this generation. He is without question one of the greatest authors of our time. 

The world knows the world of Joseph Conrad; only a handful know the man himself.

To know Joseph Conrad is to know another big-souled, keen-willed person – Mrs. Joseph Conrad – known as “Jessie” to all of their friends.

…To see Joseph Conrad and his wife together is to be believe that romance survives marriage. They have a son who went through the war, and yet the great author and his wife are like young lovers together.

I found The Delineator article through seeking. I have a heavy volume titled “The Girls Own Annual,” published in 1929. In looking for recipes this morning, I found the article “Cold Weather Dishes,” by Mrs. Joseph Conrad.

The name struck me. Could it be?

And, sure enough, it was. The wife of the Heart of Darkness.

Lady Conrad’s recipes in the 1929 volume include tasty soups like fresh chestnut soup and artichoke soup, various potato dishes, and some “hot sweets for cold days.”

Here’s her recipe for Potato Cones:

Use mashed potatoes (these may have been left over from a previous meal), add the yolk of a well-beaten egg and mix into the mashed potatoes, working it well. Force into curly pyramids by means of a potato tube. Place these on a greased paper and bake 10 min. in the oven.

There are never too many potato recipes when you live in potato country!

Jenna Beaulieu

About Jenna Beaulieu

Jenna is a writer and fine art photographer who recently moved from the Saint John Valley region to Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island. She’s a fan of excellent music, homemade gravy, and colored pencils (also, short books and long books, good pens, flannel, and when the June bugs don’t really come out much that year). For more about Jenna and her work, visit her website at www.jennabeaulieu.com