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)

Friday, 30 December 2011

Resolutions for Blue-Stockings

Worthy Readers of this Blog might hath detected the Absence of the Hungry Quixote, who, being much engaged in the writing of her Dissertation, hath cruelly neglected to report upon her Peregrinations around the various Libraries and Archives of this Empire, all in the Service of finding pleasing, healthfull and oeconmical Lunches to be enjoy'd by young Scholars.

Fortunately, the Hungry Quixote has had the Opportunity to spend last week at the Huntington Library of San Marino, in hopes of educating her Self upon the Dishes most enjoyed by fashionable Gentlemen and Ladies of Leisure during the 18th century.  I particularly relished the letters penned by the well-known London socialite and Blue-Stocking, Elizabeth Montagu.  Her early letters don't betray many enlightened musings upon the flavors of the age; seems like girlfriend pretty much lived on tea and spa water from Bath and consumed, as a daily exercise regimen, "two dishes of chocolate" then a "walk round the garden, and at home before the family goes to breakfast."  However, as any promising young socialite is wont to do, she was all too eager to lend her opinions on the eating habits of others.

She looks pretty good:
Bath Water = Enlightenment Kombucha?
In 1740, she infers that a man's prodigious appetite might belie an unhealthy penchant for frugality, suggesting, "I believe, in his oeconomy, he saves a dinner when he is invited to supper, for he eat a forequarter of lamb, a chicken with a plentiful portion of ham, potted beef and jellies innumerable..." 

And then a few months later, she couldn't wait to be rid of an overly zealous locavore:

"We this day had an Epicure to dine with us who talk'd so much of eating that his conversation gave one a dinner, the Gentleman was just come from abroad and declared he thought nothing he had met in travelling equal to a Haunch of English Venison, and declared for his part he preferr'd England to any other Country because Eatables of all sorts were here in the greatest perfection.  He was so loquacious and so voracious it was impossible to determine whether he eat or talk'd most, but for two hours his unwarried employment was the praise and practice of eating..." 

Reading all of this talk of Gormandizing, however, made it impossible for me to suppress the growing Hunger in my Stomack.  And as long-time Readers of this Blog know that its Authoress is particularly fond of Salleting, around 12 of the clock I retired to the Botanick Gardens, lusting after the Delights of the Vegetable Kingdom.

The Desert Garden

The Chinese Garden offer'd pleasing Exotick Fare
But the prodigious Line hinder'd all Hope of Expediency
In the Rose Garden, I finally stumbled upon a Cafe, where the Reader will learn there were plenty of the choicest Sallets and sundry Dainties to be found:

Day One: The Holyday Special
Chicken, Blew Cheese, Pecans, Cranberries and Balsamick
Day Two: Thai Tofu Sallet:
Cashews, Cabbage, Carrots and Scallions
While I found the latter to be more grateful to my Taste, both Sallets were compos'd of the freshest of Ingredients and garnish'd with the most agreeable of Sawces.  To compleat my Felicity, I was not obligated to wait in Line for the Grill'd Items, but passed through the Cafe with expeditious Ease. This allowed me to pass my Lunch-Hour, as a Blue-Stocking would, among the Gayer and Politer Enjoyments of the Gardens.