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Mrs Bailey’s Martian Kitchen (and her famous Oxford Marmalade recipe)

a large stockpot overflowing with fresh-plucked Seville oranges from my California garden

As everyone knows (well, everyone who pays any attention to geopolitical realities), Mars has been a province of the British Empire for the last hundred and fifty years, since the days of George III. Happy George, we call him: to be sure, the balance of his mind was somewhat disturbed by the loss of the American colonies, but nothing could be more restorative to a man so fond of farming and modern agricultural developments than the acquisition of a whole planet ripe for cultivation. And, of course, colonisation. Pioneers came from every corner of the Empire and further yet, drawn by the promise of a guaranteed welcome, fertile volcanic soil and water in plenty, space beyond measure…

These days the colony is broad, settled and prosperous. Industry thrives, alongside agriculture; with a whole planet to fill, there is still no bar to immigration, and Martian culture is a true melting-pot.

Still, the English governing classes cleave to their traditions. Time is measured by the Church of England calendar, regardless of the Martian year; this of course makes Christmas a moveable feast, falling sometimes in midwinter and sometimes at the very height of summer, or anywhere between. We sing carols none the less, eat goose and plum pudding, send cards bejewelled with snow.

Boys are sent Home for their education, to the great public schools of England; but passage to and from Earth is expensive, and there is no similar provision for our female children. Accordingly, good boarding schools for girls have been established right here on Mars, and the Crater School is one among the best. Perched on the rim of Lowell Crater above the lake, it takes girls from all across the province and turns out young women to be proud of, Martian to the core.

Mrs Bailey has been school cook since time immemorial. In her kitchen can be found spices from three worlds, and recipes likewise; out of her kitchen come meals to tempt the palate of any girl, whatever her background.

She has long promised to share those recipes with the wider worlds; and now, at last, that promise sees fruition.

Her book is a work in progress. Each recipe as she writes it is sent to me, where I am proud to host it on my Medium page; and now I have been given the opportunity to post them here, week by passing week.

‘Tis marmalading season, for once coinciding both on Mars and on Earth; this week, then, let me share Mrs B’s method for making the true Oxford marmalade (being an Oxonian born and bred, I am in a position to vouch for this wholeheartedly).

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2 thoughts on “Mrs Bailey’s Martian Kitchen (and her famous Oxford Marmalade recipe)”

  1. I wish seville oranges were available in New England. I do have a maslin pot for my preserves. It is a wonderful kitchen tool. Good for big batches of soup and stews too.

    1. I love my maslin pan! (The second batch of Sevilles is sitting in it as we speak, waiting for me to follow stage two of Mrs Bailey’s method.)
      The best thing about living in California now was planting my Seville tree, a few years back. It’s still a baby, but – well, this year I had enough for two batches. I do know that you can order Sevilles online, though; possibly from Florida?

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