Dining with the famous in the early 1960s (2)

Hampshire


The high-flying Oxford graduate Robert Fearnley-Whittingstall visited Burley Manor in the New Forest a few months before he married gardening writer Jane in 1962. Three years later, celebrity chef Hugh, of River Cottage fame, was born. According to those who approved the hotel, the owners used their own ‘vegetables, cream, poultry and pigs ‘. So doubtless, the merits of locally sourced produce were passed onto the River Cottage presenter. However, it is unlikely that Hugh’s cooking skills were inherited from his Dad, because, according to Jane, the only dish her husband could cook for the young ladies he entertained as a bachelor was devilled kidneys!John Arlott pic

John ‘the Voice of Cricket’ Arlott, who started his career as a policeman in Basingstoke before being discovered by poet and BBC producer Geoffrey Grigson, was a oenophile and gastronome who enjoyed great hospitality at the White Horse Inn, Droxford, which just happens to be a few miles from the ‘Bat and Ball ‘pub in Hambledon, where cricket began in the eighteenth century.

In the early sixties ‘motels ‘ were becoming popular, although one doesn’t expect to find many in the Good Food Guide. However, there are at least two, one of which, ‘The Royal Oak Motel’ at Newington, near Hythe, offered, according to the approvers a delicious, though expensive selection of continental and English dishes, including escalope in Marsala ( 14/-) and frog’s legs ( 10s 6d). It is not known whether one of the approvers, Geoffrey Finsberg, a Tory councillor at just 24, who became a senior government minister in the seventies, dined here on expenses. Continue reading

Dining with the famous in the early 1960s

Norman Painting diningA copy of Raymond Postgate’s pioneering Good Food Guide for 1961 – 62 is a real eye-opener for the 21st century foodie. Forget steak, mushrooms and chips followed by Black Forest Gateau at the nearest Berni Inn—- here were restaurants where high quality and innovative dishes were served. Postgate asked those who were members of the Good Food Club to fill in the report page at the end of each guide, ‘approving’ a particular restaurant. If he liked the comments the names of the ‘approvers’ were added to the end of the restaurant entry. Most of these approvers were just ordinary people who liked good food, but a number turned out to be amongst the great and the good of the time, including writers, academics and showbiz types. It is likely that Postgate recognised these names and deliberately selected them out as a way of attracting diners who also recognised these ‘ celebs’. Here are some examples.

London

Eternal bachelor Norman Painting, who played the patriarch of long-running radio series’ The Archers’ for a record number of years after leaving an academic career at Oxford, where he fell out with his B.Litt tutor, the lazy and apathetic Lord David Cecil, was an enthusiastic diner at Bertorelli’s in Shepherds Bush, just round the corner from the BBC. He also enjoyed the food at several other good restaurants scattered over the country. A serious gastronome, it seems.

Antiquarian book legend Anthony Rota, a great diner-out, appears to have enjoyed Mediterranean cuisine at the Tavana restaurant in Heddon Court Parade, Cockfosters. He also approved the cheap ’n’ cheerful Romano Santi bistro in Greek Street, Soho, and the more traditional Foxley Hotel in Bishop’s Stortford. Continue reading

Haunt of the sixties jet-set—The Bell at Aston Clinton

Good food guide Bell Aston clintonA few days ago we heard on the radio that there was much more violence during the Great Train Robbery of 1963 than has been reflected in the over-romanticised films about it. We also learnt that the notorious Leatherslade Farm, where the robbers held out, is no more.

Luckily, ‘The Bell’ at Aston Clinton, the pub frequented by the prosecution at the trial down the road at Aylesbury, is still around. Here’s what the Good Food Guide for 1961 – 62 had to say about this very popular inn just a year before the robbery took place:

Gerard Harris now has his own company and controls the inn; perhaps his brow will become less furrowed. The Bell is no well known to our members now that it is difficult to find anything new to say about it. Its menu is large, but not gigantic and the cuisine rises to a level of real distinction…creamy pate, 3/-; Arbroath smokies in cream,3/6; coq au vin, 9/6; beef Avignon, 8/6; sweetbreads chasseur,8/6; entrecote marchand de vin, 11/-; blackcurrant sorbet,2/-;crème brule,2/6…The menu is supported by a long and a remarkably chosen wine-list. The strongest section is probably the clarets: at one end is a Haut Medoc at 10/6, at the other ‘28’s and ‘29’s—chateau bottled wines between 32/- and 45/-, which are now not at all easy to get, even from wine merchants. Ordinaires at 9/6. Often crowded, and service sometimes overtaxed ( especially the wine service); but meals are served until quite a late hour. Open all year. Bed and breakfast, 19/6; no full board (App by too many members to list .) Continue reading

Cabaret, Chinese food and national anthems in Yorkshire’s most eccentric pub

Showers John StanhopeAn entry in the 1961- 62 edition of The Good Food Guide describes the exuberant John Showers and his’ inn’, the Stanhope in Calverley Lane, Rodley, south east of Leeds, thus:

‘He fills out the nightly menus with his own essays, and he has written two books about it. Foreign visitors, of which there are many, are liable to be welcomed in their own tongue (Mr Showers’circular green notepaper has Cheerio on it in thirty languages) and escorted to their tables to the sound of their own national anthem. There is a nightly cabaret, by no means undistinguished and not ‘blue’ for which he sometimes writes the script. The dining-room is very small, and serves some English dishes but ignore them ( except for no. 80 ’curried octopus’—so English, don’t you think?) and go for the Chinese food. Try, divided among a party, the Sea Salad (9/-), inkfish with bean sprouts (8/-), Stanhope Special ( based on chicken , pork and water-chestnuts, 8/ 6) or ask for some advice…

Reading the two books in question one will discover that before he opened The Stanhope, the Essex-born Showers was, among other things, a male manikin, bus conductor, and a banana planter. In 1937, inspired by the example of the new king and his consort playing darts publicly he installed a board in his saloon, hoping to attract the upper middle class. Alas, only the local proletariat came to play, and eventually the board was relocated to the tap-room. All of which recalls Basil Fawlty’s disastrous ‘gourmet night’ ! Continue reading

White or Red ?

Jeff Koons has become the latest in a long line of illustrious artists to produce a label for the equally celebrated wine of Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Here is passage from The Cellar Key (1933) by T Earle Welby* which everyone who dines out should commit to memory.

‘…The corks of the opened bottles have been carefully examined, and smelled, after cutting off the tops, which may seem mouldy without the rest of the cork or the wine in any but a sound state. A spoonful of each wine has been tasted, with an olive-cleansed palate. The host is satisfied: the guests will be.

   But let the guests know, by inscription in the margin of the menu or by word of mouth, what wines are to be offered them. I appeal, in the divine name, to hosts and hostesses not to let a maid wander around a table asking, “White or Red?” White what? And red what? Is the choice between an honest white Graves and an equally honest red Graves, or between the former and Kangaroo Burgundy? In any event, why should such a choice be offered one? No vinously educated person can possibly want to drink red wine of any kind with the fish, or, having therefore chosen white, to be condemned to white for the whole meal.

   However, the crimes against wine committed in the house are as nothing to those in which the unconscious criminal does his horrid deeds at a restaurant. To ask guests what they will drink is a stupid abdication of the position of host, a position with higher duties than that of paying the bill. They may know what they would severally take to drink, though in an average English party three-fourths of them will not; but, even if they do, they each will hesitate to avow a preference which might send the host beyond his estimate. It is for the host to choose, and in advance of the arrival of his guests. He knows, as his guests cannot, on what scale he had conceived of the entertainment; or, if he does not, he should have bidden his friends to some restaurant with which he was better acquainted. It is for him to take complete charge; to order both food and wine before his friends arrive ; to spare the party the evil ten minutes during which its members would otherwise gape at menu and wine- list…’

*See an earlier jot on Welby – author of  the classic food book The Dinner Knell (1932).  [RR]

London pubs with unusual customs and bizarre attractions

Ye old watling picFound in the Haining Archive are these pages of handwritten notes on unusual old London pubs, possibly from a book by London topographer Royston Wells, who may have written the notes himself.

“The Wrestlers”, North Hill, Highgate

Original pub 1547. New one built 1921 around enormous Jacobean fire grate. Ancient custom of “ swearing on the horns “ still performed.

Original fire grate still there, but no mention of swearing on the horns on Website.

“ Lamb and Flag”, Covent Garden,

Covent Garden’s oldest pub, outside which Dryden was set on and nearly murdered. On 19th December glasses of mulled drinks given away to regulars to celebrate the fact that Dryden was not actually killed.

Blue plaque commemorates attack on Dryden

“Crown and Greyhound”, Dulwich Village.

HQ of Dulwich Village Perpetuation Society, who keep up Dickens’ traditions and meet here regularly in Dickensian gear.

Dickens did meet members of Dulwich Society at Greyhound, but no mention on website of present day members dressing up. Continue reading

One foot in the grave at 44 !

12796501More heart-warming advice from Real Life Problems and their Solution (1938) by the cheery R Edynbry.

‘I am just forty-four years and beginning to feel that real middle age is just around the corner. I don’t mix much with other men and never talk over my symptoms with anybody. But I often speculate as to what may be in store for me in the way of health and sickness. I should be glad if you would tell me some general symptoms of middle age so that should experience them in the coming years I should not be taken by surprise.’

Changes take place so slowly in middle age that it is often difficult to compare conditions from one year to another. The trend of physical life is now downwards, however, gradually, and whether it will be hurried or delayed depends upon the constitution and manner of living. As a rule it becomes more difficult now to plan and carry out personal schemes, the success of which depends upon quick movement and energy. The healthy flush of youth shown in the complexion, gives place to a certain pallor, except when blood pressure gives a florid appearance. Greyness and some degree of baldness begin to show. There may be a bagginess under the eyes and wrinkles at the outer corners. Hearing may not be so keen as formerly and glasses are generally necessarily for reading small print.

Perhaps the most noticeable feature of middle age is the layer of abdominal fat and the general sagging of the body. Unless increasing care is paid to the diet, dyspepsia may give trouble, and various forms of nervous irritability draw attention to the fact that something is wrong. Worry about the physical or economic situation often causes insomnia at this time. The sex life needs careful regulation and all emotional strain should be avoided as far as possible. The sensible man—who should be his own doctor to some extent in middle age—should know that one of the secrets of health and happiness at this period lies in the simplification of one’s needs and demands. Less food and plainer food; less worry because of fewer ambitions and desires; less responsibility because nothing is undertaken without reasonable hope of accomplishment. [RR]

 

A Cod Medieval Menu

design-for-chelsea-arts-club-ball-1914Found, part of a menu for the Chelsea Arts Club Ball, which was held at the Albert Hall, March 4th 1914:

Some clear Soupe—warme, ‘tis for one ande alle.

Ye Baron of Beefe, roasted ande tender

Ye Wilde Boare, hys Heade—a dishe for ye Kinge

Large Surrey Capons withe Truffles—no bones argale, eate fearlesslie

Ye Tastie Ham spyced as atte Yorke

Ye Venyson Pasty—tastilie cooked

Chykens, plump ande temptinge—trye them.

Ye Kindlye Oxe , hys Tongue

Agayne Chykens mayde toothsome by Galentyne

Dishe Pastys with Pidgeons —ryghte sustainynge

Beefe cunninglye cooked with spyces—try it

Raised Pastrys with Bubleyjocks, as they doe them in Yorkeshire—ryghte good

And thene some green stuffes with Dressinge .

AND THENE COME YE SWEETES GOODE FOR ALLE MEN ANDE MAYDENS

This year, this famous society Ball, in which fancy dress was de rigueur, must have had medieval England as its theme, although the drawing by Alex Jamieson (pictured), which sold in 2014 at Bonhams, does not suggest this. Contemporary reports record this Ball as being particularly weird and wonderful. Just a few months later many of the male party-goers would have found themselves leading troops into battle in the Flanders mud. Too many, alas, would never dance again. [RH]

‘The Morons’ Dining Club

moron-advert-001Found in the ‘Eating Places’ column in the May 1927 issue of the highly regarded American left-wing literary magazine, The New Masses, is this advert for a club called ‘The Morons’. According to the SOED (1965) the term moron comes from the Greek for foolish and was coined in 1913, presumably by a psychologist, to describe a person whose ‘intellectual development’ had been arrested.

In medical textbooks the term, along with ‘cretin’ and ‘idiot’, was still applied to a category of the mentally deficient up to the 1960s, after which time such nomenclature became otiose. It is difficult to say when exactly the word moron was freed from its scientific meaning to become the slang term so familiar to us today. It may have already been assigned slang status by 1927, when hostess Winnifred Harper Cooley, placed her advert. It is possible that the dining club borrowed the word from a derogatory reference to suffragists as ‘morons’.

The Net has nothing to tell us regarding the foundation of The Morons, but from the advert we can perhaps guess that the fortnightly meetings of this ‘ most brilliant dining club ‘ took place using a rota system in the homes of members, or even permanently at Cooley’s own New York City home. It is unlikely that any restaurant would have tolerated the raised voices and table-banging that might accompany the airing of ‘radical subjects’. Continue reading

An apology for the large breweries

allsopp-beer-picHere’s another extract from T.Earle Welby’s The Dinner Knell of 1932. This time the epicure voices an opinion which in the seventies era of the Almighty Keg would not have been accurate but which, thanks to the influence of CAMRA and other campaigning groups, may possibly ring true today.

‘Beer abides and the best of it now is as good as English beer ever was. This is not a fashionable thing to say. For years the air has been full of the moanings of those who imagine a golden age for beer, and suppose it to have been destroyed by the wickedness of the great breweries. The truth of the matter is that, until the nineteenth century was pretty well advanced, most small brewers and vendors, secure in local monopoly, adopted the most vicious methods with beer.

As late as 1824, the author of The Private Brewery wrote: ‘It has seldom been my fortune in a great number of years to taste unadulterated purchased ale, whether brewed in the metropolis or in the brewing districts of the country’. For years before that date and for some years later an extremely harmful and highly intoxicating drug, the Indian berry ( coccollus Indicus) was freely used in beer ; and willow bark, walnut leaf, quassia, gentian, aloes, entered into the production of what was sold in hundreds of establishments and more particularly in the abominable beer-houses produced by the Duke of Wellington’s Act. Continue reading

The Dinner Knell (1932)

free-vintage-color-illustration-of-cabbage-image-2Found, The Dinner Knell, the book published just months before his death aged 52 by prolific journalist and fin de siecle expert T(homas ) Earle Welby, (1881 – 1933). The premature demise of Welby, who was known to his New Statesman readers as ‘Stet’, may have had something to do with a love of food that informs much of his writing, including this particularly lively excursion into the world of gastronomy.

Reading The Dinner Knell, one is reminded not so much of a modern restaurant critic such as Michael Winner or Giles Coren, but of a cook with rather conservative tastes, like Elizabeth David or Jane Grigson, who has practical knowledge of traditional food and culinary skills and is apt to bemoan the general decline of standards to be found in shops and eating establishments. Take this giant-sized slice of diatribe on the topic of the humble cabbage:

“The ‘cut from the joint and two veg’ is indubitably the basis of something or other, whether it be the British Empire or of British dyspepsia; my own belief is that we are a cabbage-clogged nation, and the slowness of out mental processes is due to the ingestion day by day of enormous quantities of that soggy and damnable and compulsory article of diet. Continue reading

A War Cookery Book

Found – a publisher’s advertisement (T. Werner Laurie) for a book of cookery recipes for war zones. It was in D’Auvergne’s ABC Guide to the Great War (1914). The book itself is rare but a copy can be found at the invaluable archive.org. Its full title is: A War Cookery Book IMG_0007 for the Sick and Wounded : compiled from the cookery books by Mrs. Edwards, Miss May Little, etc., etc. (by Jessie M. Laurie.) It was aimed at ‘every nurse, whether Volunteer or Professional’ and has easy to prepare dishes for ‘Invalid and Convalescent Patients.’ Here is a selection of  egg dishes. Obviously alcohol was considered useful and it is assumed that herbs can be fairly easily procured (parsley and thyme).

BREAD AND MILK.-Take a thick slice of fairly
stale bread. Cut it into tiny squares, and after having
cut away the crusts put it into an enamel saucepan
with about 1 pint of milk; boil up very slowly. Sugar
or salt to taste.

EGGS BAKED IN TOMATOES.-Choose rather large
tomatoes of equal size, cut a piece off the top of the
tomatoes, scoop out the pulp carefully, sprinkle on a
little salt and pepper, break an egg into a cup and pour
it into the hollow of the tomato, place on a greased
baking tin and cook slowly until the egg is set, basting
with a little butter. Continue reading

Two John Fothergill letters

IMG_1595Found – two signed handwritten letters from John Fothergill author of An Innkeeper’s Diary.  He was the proprietor of The Spreadeagle in Thame, the ‘inn’ he managed to make a cult destination during the 1920s and 30s. To quote travel blogger Ian Weightman:

‘In its heyday, The Spreadeagle near Oxford became a mecca for holiday makers, and the great and the good of the country. Many people booked to stay or dine there, purely because of Fothergill’s notoriety. But many others – including a “glitterati” of writers, actors, artists and heads of state – arrived as a result of the hotel’s widespread reputation as one of the best in the land… Fothergill was not only an illustrious innkeeper, but also an outstanding chef, connoisseur of wine, and an early campaigner for “Real Food”’.

The letters are to the writer Guy Chapman (author of the WW1 account A Passionate Prodigality and husband of Margaret Storm Jameson, English journalist and author.) They were associated with the writer’s organisation PEN – hence Fothergill asking for advice about republishing a gardening book he had written in 1927 (The Gardener’s Colour Book -now quite collectable.) The first letter is from the Spreadeagle and the second from his inn in Market Harborough which he ran from 1934 to 1952. Anybody writing a biography of Fothergill in the future would appreciate these letters, but when they are sold they tend to disappear – so following the original Jot mission we are recording them here. Continue reading

Baked Elephant’s Foot

Minithology on banquets 001Baked Elephant’s Foot. Just one of the exotic dishes that features in Spotlight on Lucullus, A miniature Anthology of the pleasures of the Table –which is twenty-eighth in the series of ‘ minithologies ‘ created by a certain Max Crombie, some of the others being devoted to bird poetry, Christmas, love lyrics, the prose of Richard Jefferies, drink songs and the four seasons. Originating from the modest Knights Press in Northwood, Middlesex, from c 1940 to 1942, these booklets were slightly smaller than Penguin paperbacks and certainly shorter, being, in most cases, no more than twenty four pages in length. Well known book illustrators provided the ‘decorations ‘in the form of vignettes. The subject matter covered was presumably chosen to lift wartime spirits ( though the irony of describing banquets at a time of wartime shortages was doubtless not lost on many readers,) and perhaps to inject a little nationalist pride into a demoralised populace.
As for the account of the baked elephant’s foot, it was supplied by the French gastronome Le Vaillant, who witnessed the culinary practices of the Hottentots while travelling through Africa:

‘They cut off the four feet of the animal, and made in the earth a hole about three feet square. This was filled with live charcoal, and, covering the hole with very dry wood, a large fire was kept up during part of the night. When they thought the hole was large enough it was emptied; a Hottentot then placed within it the four feet of the animal, covered then with hot ashes, and with charcoal and small wood; and this fire was kept burning until the morning. My servants presented me at breakfast with an elephant’s foot. It had considerably swelled in the cooking; I could hardly recognise the shape, but it appeared so good, exhaled so inviting an odour, that I hastened to taste it. I could not conceive how so heavy , so material an animal as the elephants, could furnish a dish so fine and delicate, and I devoured without bread, my elephant’s foot, while my Hottentots, seated around me, regaled themselves with other parts which they found equally delicious.’  

[R.M.Healey]

Wonder Wall—Second World War murals in restaurants and canteens

Murals Bawden 001It is a sad fact that most of the best mural paintings executed in canteens, cafes and restaurants in the UK no longer exist. Unlike those executed for some public buildings, those in private premises are subject to the taste of those who take over the property. By far the most notorious example was, of course, the murals executed around 1913 on the walls of Rudolf Stulik’s Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel in Percy Street, just off Tottenham Court Road, by Wyndham Lewis, which were later painted over.

The prevalence of the post-war obsession of interior decorators with the ‘ white wall ‘ was a possible explanation for the disappearance of most the Second World War murals that feature in an article by the architect Oliver Hill in the November 1943 issue of The Studio magazine. Working within the tradition of thirteen centuries of mural painting in English churches, and using the contemporary iconography of posters, notably those of McKnight Kauffer, many of the muralists commissioned during the Second World War were asked to address what was essentially a captive audience –diners at many British restaurants, staff dining rooms and government canteens. Muralists saw these projects as an opportunity to introduce otherwise unappreciative diners to good public art. To the architect Hill, the mural was not the equivalent of a large framed representational painting that focussed the attention of the viewer on itself, but was part of the building on which it was painted. As such, rather than realistic representation, a ‘good mural ‘ should, according to Hill, ‘ fire the imagination and, by its effect and phantasy, allow the mind of the observer to escape beyond the confines of the room, without, of course, forcibly obtruding itself upon him ‘. Continue reading

Cooked to death

vegimite

A typescript found in the Haining Archive, and possibly published, contains potted accounts of many examples of horrible or ridiculous deaths involving food. Here are a few of them:

A Gruelling Fate

Few cooks have suffered a more bizarre fate than Richard Rosse, a well-known London chef in the sixteenth century. In the year 1530 he was appointed to the household of the Bishop of Rochester and appears to have satisfied his master until the autumn. Then, says an account of his life published in Remarkable Trials and Notorious Characters ( 1850):

     It was declared that he had poisoned some gruel being made for the Bishop and imprisoned in Smithfield. Here he was boiled to death.

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Professor Louisa Stanley—pioneer of healthy US diets

American nutrition guru 001Found in the fascinating El Mundo archive is this intriguing photo of Dr Louisa Stanley( 1883 – 1954), pioneer of practical home economics, shown standing in front of the Good Housekeeping home which was one of the twelve Homes of Tomorrow exhibited at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago.

At the time Stanley, as Bureau head of Home Economics, was the highest paid woman in the United States Department of Agriculture, where her brief was to improve the diets of ordinary Americans. Unlike the TV chefs of today, she came to the important issues of well-balanced diets and a healthy lifestyle, from the standpoint of a chemist. The nearest we have had to such a celebrity nutritionist was the seventies TV guru Dr Magnus Pyke—he of the waving arms and rapid fire delivery—but at the moment Jamie ‘The Naked Chef’ Oliver is doing something similarly serious to change our attitude towards dangerously fattening carbohydrates, notably sugar..

Back in 1930s America, sugar was not denounced as public enemy number one, and Stanley saw it as part of a well balanced diet. There is even a photo of her judging a pie competition. But she did champion the benefits of healthy home cooking based on sound nutrition. One of the issues she promoted was the canning of home-grown vegetables.The health benefits of soya beans was something else she supported. Much of her promotional work was mediated through radio broadcasts.

In the photo the lettering on the large cards displayed inside the four rooms of the Good Housekeeping Home is too small to read easily, but we can just make out a statement to the effect that a ‘well balanced diet’ is the key to safeguarding health. In another room the same family appear to be engaged in some communal activity (possibly listening to the radio), while behind them on the wall is that hardy perennial of the statistician, the pie chart, which though invented in 1801, wasn’t really used until 1858.

Louise Stanley went on to become a sort of national treasure in the United States. In 1940 she became the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate and in 1961 a building at her alma mater, the University of Missouri, was named after her. [R.M.Healey]

Jane Grigson at 27—-a lost etching

Grigson Jane etching 1955 001Arguably one of the two greatest twentieth century English writers on food (the other being Elizabeth David), Jane Grigson ( 1928 – 1990) was the subject of this intriguing etching by the artist Jack Daniel, who knew her in the early fifties when she was living in west London as a young picture researcher working for the publisher George Rainbird.

The etching, which is signed by Daniel and dated retrospectively ‘1955’ was given to me by the artist when I met him about 20 years ago at his home. I was researching the life of Jane’s husband, the poet and critic Geoffrey Grigson, and had somehow discovered Daniel’s address. I found him very friendly and forthcoming about Jane and Geoffrey, whom she had met while he was editing the encyclopaedia People, Places, Things and Ideas for George Rainbird. He was particularly informative about their early relationship (they met when Geoffrey was already married) and just before I left, he sought out one of his portfolios and fished out this etching. It must have meant much to him, considering he had kept it for over forty years.

I seem to recall that Daniel shared part of the house with Jane, who is depicted working at a table in her flat, next to a window through which can be seen the rooftops and chimney pots of neighbouring houses. She seems to be writing something—probably nothing to do with gastronomy, for she had yet to specialise in this field. Indeed, it was a chance meeting with an archaeologist living in one of the cave houses at Troo, on the Loir near Vendome, that propelled her into this new career. She took over his research and the book which resulted from it was published in 1966 as the famous Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery. With this her future was assured. [R.M.Healey]

Cuppa in the City

51Y+-eY-sUL._SL500_SX317_BO1,204,203,200_From the Good Cuppa Guide by Jonathan Routh (1966) in the ‘Tea in the City’ section. Jonathan Routh (1928-2008) was a hoaxer and practical joker, most famous as the presenter of ITV’s Candid Camera. Previous to this he had successfully invented a fictitious 18th Century poet, gaining him a mention in the TLS. As well as his guide to tea shops in London he produced the Good Loo Guide (1968); the New York version was called the Good John Guide. He was also a prolific, and eccentric, painter – Queen Victoria was depicted trying to lose weight using a hula-hoop. Some of his paintings occasionally turn up in auction..
 

The Leadenhall Tea Room and Billiards Salon

(Licensed for Billiards and Tobacco)

21 Lime Street

This vast subterranean arena which hasn’t changed one iota since 1880 is one of the weirdest sights in England. In it are maybe two hundred men drinking fivepenny cups of tea – which is all that’s served for their refreshment – watching another fifty on the billiard tables. It seemed only right that, in purchasing my cup, I should have received change for my 6d with an Edwardian penny. I felt, too, that at last I’d stumbled across what that ‘Something’ is that people who are ‘Something in the City’ do. As I say, it’s weird; and it goes on from 10 in the morning to 9 at night. Just the click of cue on ball and spoon on cup. An absolute must for those who like to take their tea in surroundings that are different.

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Medicinal Virtues of Strong Coffee

Typical London coffee house in the 18th century

18th Century Coffee House*

Among the astonishingly varied contents of the very scarce Family Receipt Book (undated but c1810) is this incredible piece of PR on behalf of strong coffee:

‘Strong coffee, in the proportion of an ounce and a half to a pint, and particularly when made by infusion, is not only truly grateful to the palette, but wonderfully fortifies and strengthens the stomach, as well as the whole nervous system. It adds, maintains one of its warmest panegyrists, or gives spirits to the body, on any sinking, faintness, weakness, or weariness, of mind or body, and that beyond whatever the best wine can effect; conveying, as it were, life and strength to the whole frame. It is, doubtless, very good against consumptions, vapours and hysterics, and all cold and moist diseases afflicting the head, brain etc; it prevails also, on being long and plentifully used, against the scurvy, dropsy, and gout , as well as all manner of rheumatic pains ; absorbing all acidities in the human body, and destroying the congelative powers by which those diseases are chiefly generated; while, by it’s(sic) diuretic property, it carries off all those heterogene and morbific humours, after a very singular manner. “

It may be, says Salmon, the medical writer here in part quoted, “that I have said a great deal in commendation of this strong coffee, but I can truly assert that  I have said nothing but what I know myself, and that in my own person, to be truth, and have had confirmed by manifold and daily experiences for a great many years, to my exceeding satisfaction. I was also cured, about ten years since, of a rheumatic pain in my shoulder; which was so vehement that, besides the perpetual pain, I could not as much lift my arm or hand up to my head, not put it behind my back , for nearly two years , in which I received no benefit by a long application of vesicatories, and continual use of opiates. Of this vehement rheumatism, I was perfectly cured by drinking a full quart of strong coffee at a time, and continuing it some days together, nor have I since the smallest return. The like relation I have had from two other persons, particular patients of mine, who were much more grievously afflicted, by their own accounts, than even I was; who by an extravagant drinking of strong coffee, to use their own words, were perfectly cured, and freed from their deplorable lameness, after manifold applications, and the use of many other things, both external and internal, had for some years past been tried in vain.”

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