BEDFORD ARCHITECTURAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL & LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
BEDFORD LOCAL BOOK REVIEW
BOOK REVIEW by Bob Ricketts
THE ORIGINAL WARDEN PEAR.
By Margaret Roberts
Published by Eventispress in 2017. 74 Pages.
Paperback. ISBN 978-0-9932608-4-1
Obtainable from the author via Warden Vineyard www.wardenvineyard.org.uk
A delightful short book, which should appeal to anyone with an interest in local history (Warden Abbey), horticulture (the Warden Pear)
and cookery (excellent hisoric and six current recipes using Warden Pears).
The author starts with a short introduction, covering the origins of pears, “wardens”, Medieval orchards and cultivation and their medical uses – including their association with the last illness of Cardinal Wolsey.
Chapter Two deals with Warden Abbey and its orchards, and the symbolic importance of pears, three of which were incorporated within the Abbey’s arms. Chapter Three describes the history of the cultivation of pears in orchards. Chaper Four discusses the pear as a symbol in art and literature. Chapter Five is devoted to the culinary and medicinal uses of pears from the Tudors. Apparently, Warden Pie was served as a delicacy at Bedford Borough’s municipal banquets, as well as being popular street food at Bedford’s Michaelmas fairs. Hawkers would cry “Hot baked wardens, all hot, in a pot,who knows what I have got, in my pot?”The final chapter provides detailed illustrated modern recipes for Baked Wardens, Pear Confit, Wardens in Syrup, Pear Compote and Warden Pies.
The volume is authoritative, well-referenced and illustrated throughout.