When Fanny Price, the poor little cousin in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, was adopted by her rich relatives and taken to their house in Northampton, England, she was so miserable that not even the sight of a gooseberry tart could give her comfort. I remember reading the story as a young girl and thinking that this gooseberry tart was clearly something special. I asked my mother, whose parents had come from England, about it, but all she could remember from her childhood was gooseberry fool—a rough-textured puree of sweetened, cooked gooseberries softened by whipped cream. It was the 1940s and, despite the fact that our family table (in New York City, where we lived for most of the year, and in Greensboro, Vermont, where we spent our summers) was British-oriented, we'd never had gooseberries. Although they were native to the northeastern United States (as well as to Europe), they simply weren't around then.