Tag Archives: Anne Hathaway

She Hath-a-Way

I’m been thinking a lot about Anne Hathaway recently. And not the American actress, Anne Hathaway, who was born in 1982; rather I’m thinking about Anne Hathaway, wife to William Shakespeare, born in 1556. Anne married Shakespeare in 1582 when she was 26 – and pregnant. Shakespeare was 18 – and needed his father to okay his marriage. They were married 34 years – and were still married when Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 – at the age of 52 (Anne lived another 7 years).

The 19th-century German print-maker, George Edward Perine, did this rendition of Shakespeare with his family. Anne is on the right, sewing.

Was theirs a happy marriage? Well, if you remember Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, you’d think he was quite a romantic and surely must have known true love:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.

Turns out that Shakespeare left his wife and children in Stratford-upon Avon around 1585 (their children, Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet, were about 3 and 1 at the time) to go to London with a troupe of actors. He returned home infrequently after that. Did he love Anne dearly – and his being gone was just a necessity of that day and time? Who knows.

Since it’s been 400 years since Anne’s death, a group of poets have put together an “Anne-thology” of poems about her which you might want to consider. And there’s a play, focused on Anne, being performed in Stratford-upon-Avon now – and this fall in London; it’s based on the 2020 novel which I loved, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Since almost nothing is actually known about the real Anne Hathaway, the book is clearly fiction.

Of course, you can’t think about Anne without also thinking more about William. He was born on the same day he died – April 23 – which is the same day Andy was born. Fortunately, Andy did not leave me in Fort Collins, Colorado, with our young children while he pursued his love of sociology at LSU in Baton Rouge. I got to go along (Anne Hathaway never went to London). And – VERY fortunately – Andy did not die at the age of 52. 🙂 Happily, Andy just celebrated his 80th birthday! And we celebrated the occasion with our family in New York City, seeing the just-opened Broadway play Fat Ham, which is a modern – and raucous – re-creation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

A scene from Fat Ham

And – before we offer up a delicious recipe that actually has some connections to Elizabethan England, let me remind you of this wonderful line from The Merchant of Venice. What could be a better wish for one’s 80th?

As for food, we know that in the theater pit of Shakespeare’s time, walnuts, hazelnuts, plums, cherries, peaches, raisins, mussels, periwinkles and crabs were often eaten. And we also know that the Elizabethan English loved “marchpane” – which we now call marzipan.

The Virtues of the “Compleate” Woman. Read it over…you’ll be glad you weren’t a woman back in 1615.

An excerpt from The English Huswife:

To make the best Marchpane take the bset Jordan Almonds and blanch them in warm water, then put them into a stone mortar, and with a wooden pestel beat them to pap, then take of the finest refined Sugar well searst, and with it Damask-Rose-water beat it to a good stiff paste, allowing almost to every Jordan Almond, three spoonfulls of sugar, then when it is brought thus to a paste, ….”

The brand Odense is often recommended.

Our recipe for today uses almond paste, not marzipan. Both have similar ingredients – mainly sugar and almonds – but in different proportions. Almond paste is less sweet and has more almonds, so do not substitute marzipan in this recipe. I gave up frosting cakes a long time ago, so Andy is used to simplified birthday cakes.

If you’re wondering where Andy’s Corner is today, it isn’t. He’s too busy celebrating his birthday week with mirth and laughter. He “hath-a-way” of doing that!

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