According Francis Hodgson Burnet is the real secret of The Secret Garden (1911) is that enough picnics and food, any youth will be happy.
These picnics take place in a derelict walled garden where Colin Craven, a fearful, make-believe invalid, and his cousin, Mary Lennox, a sickly, yellow-faced girl eat enormous breakfasts (that might otherwise have fed the entire Craven household).
Following the custom of the second breakfast, called “elevenses,” Susan Sowerby, an estate servant, obligingly stuffs a (large) white napkin with roast eggs and potatoes and dine on fresh milk, crusty cottage loaf, currant buns, clotted cream, honey and with butter. Not surprisingly, Colin and Susan gain weight! But more importantly, according to Burnet, they gain confidence in their bodies and a positive frame of mind.
“You can trifle with your breakfast and seem to disdain your dinner,” Burnet pontificates, “if you are full to the brim with roasted eggs and potatoes and richly frothed new milk and oatcakes and buns and heather honey and clotted cream.” (Please pass the Lipitor.)
Featured Image: Juliette Lienhard-Geisseler. “Cottage-made Currant Buns folded in a Blue and White Napkin.” In Francis Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden (Neuchatel, Switzerland: Delachaux & Nestlé S.A, 1921
See: Francis Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden. London: Heinemann, 1911; Amy Colter, Amy. The Secret Garden Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnet’s the Secret Garden. Illustrations by Prudence See. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.