Robinson Crusoe Quote

"He preferred, however, "gourmandization," was an idolater of a certain decent, commodious fish, called a turtle, and worshipped the culinary image wherever he nozed it put up."
---The Contradiction (1796)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

To Eat in or Take-Away? The Best and Worst Archive Lunches

A Meditation upon the Inimical Cost of VICTUALS in the Archives in LONDON


A QUEST for a Goodly and Healthfull LUNCH

Compleat with a Review of the Best and Worst Meals to be had in the Archives

which the Author hopes will be of Particular use to Commoners, Paupers, Labourers, and Graduate Students.

(In the Manner of CERVANTES)


It is a melancholy Object to those who walk through this great Towne or travel in the Country, when they see the Food-Carts, the Pubs, the Restaurants, crowded with Students of both Sexes, holding their Mole-Skines, their Eye-Pads, their Lap-Tops, all in Fleece and importuning each Vendor for a Sample.  These Students, unable to subsist on their meager University-Funding, are forc’d to employ all their time trolling Sainsbury’s for Two-for-One ‘Innocent’ Smoothies and Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Oat-Cakes.  Indeed, blessed Readers, even some of the more modest London Eating Houses can wreak harm upon the Student's Purse.  And as Diogenes, the Cynick, hath so publickly (and perhaps disgracefully) shewn, Man’s Hunger cannot be sated with the mere Rubbing of his Stomack.

Our History is rife with tales of foolish Hidalgos, and innocent Maidens, who are seduc’d by the most ludicrous and puerile Romances.  Yet permit me to inquire, my gentle Reader, which be more inimical to the Imagination: the Romance? Or the Bill of Fare?  What happens to the young and impressionable Lady, who, occasion’d by this strange and unnatural Hobby-Horse, hath ingested too many Cookery Books?  Alas, dear Reader, I pity the poor Soul who hath developed a Taste for Haunches of Venison and Croquants of Pine Apple, but is unjustly compell’d to subsisteth on Ale and Butter’d Bread!  The wicked and hungry Eye may causeth humble Chicken-Fingers to look like Roast Fowles with Bacon, or common Cyder to look like Champagne, just like the dying Man in the Desert believes he sees Water where there existeth nothing but Sand.  But the Palate never deceiveth.  And so these cursed Souls are coerc’d by Necessity to practice the Virtues of Pythagorus, but never by Lady Taste alone. 

I have painted for my Readers a woefull Picture.  However, for the Benefit of the wise and judicious Publick (particularly those in want of Monies) I hath compil’d a few Words regarding the Midday-Fare in the Archives of London, so that they may have an agreeable and oeconomical Meal.

Best: The Royal Society on Carlton Terrace.  A Grand-Sallet unrivalled by those of Mr. Evelyn costeth but 2.0.45.  Don’t expect too much from the Made-Dishes (Fish Currie over a Jacket Potatoe = not the best)  but when it comes to traditional English Fare, even the most delicate Palates will be pleas’d with the Cod, Chips and Mushy Pease

Worst: The Wellcome Institute on E------ Road.  The CafĂ© is catered by Peyton and Byrne, which generally pleaseth the Palate … if your Appetite is not suppress’d by the great Expense (ie. you’re going to shell out 10-15 bones).  Furthermore, the Variety and Selection is far inferior to that of the British Library, and if one dare to bringeth his own Lunch, he can only eat it in the corner of the Lobby, adjacent to a scientifick Exhibit on “DIRT.” 

If Any Body wishes to lend his Thoughts and Opinions upon this very urgent Matter, please either write to the Lady of Quality or leave a Comment to the Publick, requests

Your humble and obedient Servant,


Post-Script- My next Treatise will address a very peculiar Rumour that there are healthfull and pleasing Sandwiches near the Archive in Clerkenwell that costeth but 90d.  

Stay Tuned.