Monday, 14 January 2013

... so she obediently conditioned her reflexes and enjoyed her Shellfish Cocktail, which was shredded cod covered with a pink sauce made from cochineal and the water a lobster had once been cooked in; she appreciatively ate the rabbit with the ends of sprue that was called Poulet Supreme, and savoured to the full the Creme au Chocolat that was whipped up custard powder flavoured with cocoa. They drank Vin Rosé that was watered Palestine port and finished up with reheated coffee. There were long pauses between the courses, and none of the supposedly hot food was more than merely not cold.

As they lit their cigarettes, Sir Hubert remarked, "Lousy meal, wasn't it?" 

Clarissa stared at him. She had never questioned the convention that found such meals the height of luxury eating. (From Love on the Supertax, Marghanita Laski, 1944)

This made me laugh as it reminded me of Rachel's 1930s cooking challenge to herself. I know she's nervous of rabbit - with or without sprue - so perhaps she'd better call it a day before her kitchen-maid joins the ATS and it all goes downhill. Even I wouldn't fancy rabbit in lukewarm white sauce, Rachel.

When they sat down again and sipped their brandy, Sir Hubert said, "I should very much have liked to have shown you my country house."

"Tell me about it," said Clarissa, politely.

'The Government have commandeered it," said Sir Hubert savagely, "as a rehabilitation centre for incontinent evacuees. I should not care to tell you about it now."

9 comments:

StuckInABook said...

Oh, this is such a fun book!
I wonder how a vegetarian like me would fare in the 1930s...

mary said...

And it was before the invention of Woolton pie, Simon.

Toffeeapple said...

That sounds like a delicious book, I thought that it might be a Persephone book but they haven't printed it and it is sold out on Amazon. Off to trawl t'nterwebs - thank you for the nudge Mary.

mary said...

It would make a good Persephone, Toffeeapple. However, it is expensive and hard to find and I have been on the lookout for a cheap copy for several years. A real stroke of luck finding one a few days ago.
Good luck ... they're out there if you persevere.

mary said...

Toffeeapple, have a look on Abebooks. There's a few copies around £14 or £15; not particularly cheap, I know, but when I've looked in the past they've been anything from £60 to £100 on Amazon.

mary said...

And there's a very reasonably priced copy on ebay if you're quick!
What a sudden glut ... I'd been looking for simply ages!

Rachel (Book Snob) said...

That meal sounds vile! I hope my Ambrose adventure will be a little more tasty, though I am a bit concerned and haven't dared try yet! Love on the Supertax sounds hilarious - I do need to read it.

Cosy Books said...

Oh Mary, this sounds too wonderful! Surely Nicola or the people at Virago must know about it so I wonder why it hasn't been reissued?

I think Simon would be the lucky one to be a vegetarian in the 1930s by the sound of things. Blech!

mary said...

I have decided she is a Communist Nancy Mitford, Rachel. Come on, you'll read it in an evening. You will enjoy the food. Boeuf Viennois (hot spam). Boeuf haché a l'Américaine (cold Spam). I'm guessing you'd sooner spam than rabbit!

Darlene, I still can't get used to the new you! I'm sure Persephone would have it on their radar although it's only a bit of whimsy, not up to her later books.