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)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sweet Teeth

Zounds!  It's been a long day, good readers, and the Authoress of this Blog confesses that she has spent the past few hours recovering from her foray into the world of data, forms, and countless spreadsheets.  Entering 40 years of dinners into a database is no walk in the park, and working with a program that refuses to recognize anything other than the Gregorian Calendar (England used the Julian until 1752) doesn't make matters any easier.

So for today, I'm going to examine just the first two years of available records from the Thursday's Club, which begin in March, 1748.  (Mind you, these aren't the first meetings of the club's official incarnation ... the 1743-1747 records have been lost.)   And I suspect that going through everything set on the table –– from the profusion of pidgeon pyes to the perennial supplements of butter and cheese –– might fatigue my readers' tender appetites.  So, what the hell, let's just start with dessert.  

The pie-chart below breaks down all of the desserts consumed at the weekly meetings at the Mitre Tavern (the weekly meeting place) between 1748-1749.

I won't lie, readers; I was a little taken aback by my findings.  No Malaga Watermelons, no Jamaica Pepper, no Parmesan Cheese expertly aged to survive both fire and burial.  Instead, "Apple Pye," a rather ubiquitous and versatile dish that was consumed by the rich and poor alike, appeared on the table most often in these years.  Never since the Cider Craze of the 1670s have I witnessed such enthusiasm for the fruit.  A slight variation on this theme –– Apple Pye "Creamed" –– came in fourth, after Plumb and Marrow Pudding, respectively.  We get apple custard, which actually sounds pretty tasty, only once, but all in all, apple concoctions (codlings included) constitute nearly 40% of the desserts.  Seems like the most favored desserts of the R.S. primarily contained local fruits that corresponded to the rhythms of the season.