Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Certain Respect for an Egg Cup

Here, following on from yesterday's post, are some food-writing links.


1. The Food section from Gertrude Stein's 1914 book Tender Buttons

There is no salmon, there are no tea-cups, there are the same kind of mushes as are used as stomachers by the eating hopes that makes eggs delicious. Drink is likely to stir a certain respect for an egg cup and more water melon than was ever eaten yesterday. Beer is neglected and cocoanut is famous.

2. The British Cookery page at the [George] Orwell Prize website links the reader to three Orwell essays (In Defence of English Cooking, A Nice Cup of Tea, The Moon Under Water) and an extract from The Road to Wigan Pier.

There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet.

3. Fayette Robinson's translation of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's Physiologie du goût, ou Méditations de gastronomie transcendante (The Physiology of Taste; or, Transcendental Gastronomy).

“Take a raisin—”

“No I thank you; I do not like wine in pills.”

4. Bad Diet a Cause, from Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy.

All venison is melancholy, and begets bad blood; a pleasant meat: in great esteem with us (for we have more parks in England. than there are in all Europe besides) in our solemn feasts. 'Tis somewhat better hunted than otherwise, and well prepared by cookery; but generally bad, and seldom to be used.

5. Recipes for Pickles from Thomas Browne's Commonplace Books.

And may be made out of the entrails of the mackarel, the liquor that runs from the herrings which may dissolve anchovies, and with a mixture of oysters and limpets and the testaceous fishes, whereof every one makes his own pickle, and varieth the taste of sea water.

6. English Housewifry, by Elizabeth Moxon, published in 1764.

Take a pint of good gravy, a lobster or crab, which you can get, dress and put it into your gravy with a little butter, juice of lemon, shred lemon-peel, and a few shrimps if you have them; thicken it with a little flour, and put it into your bason, set the oysters on one side of the dish and this on the other; lay round the head boiled whitings, or any fried fish; pour over the head a little melted butter.

7. The Forme of Cury along with a number of other cookbooks from the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th centuries at the Society for Creative Anachronism's Medieval and Renaissance Food page. SCA member David Friedman has published translations of several early non-English-language cookbooks on his website, along with scans of seven books that still need to be translated, and there are other old foreign-language cookbooks here.

Forme of Cury,
A Roll
Ancient English Cookery,
Compiled, about A.D. 1390, by the
Master-Cooks of King Richard II,
Presented afterwards to Queen Elizabeth,
by Edward Lord Stafford,
and now in the Possession of Gustavus Brander, Esq.
Illustrated with Notes,
And a copious Index, or Glossary.

A Manuscript of the Editor, of the
same Age and Subject, with other congruous
Matters, are subjoined.

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