They Called it Callaloo

Stuck off the beaten track, but surrounded by the heavy traffic of a congested city, the Grand Market in Virginia Beach, Virginia is not an easy one to pinpoint, even with GPS  tracking technology. But “Sam’s” voice droned “Turn right, then left,” and somehow  I managed to avoid the motorcycle on a kamikaze path to my…

Ladies of the Pen and the Cookpot: Isabella Beeton (Part II)

(Continued from August 23, 2010): Brillat-Savarin’s comments about the English being the worst cooks in the world drew a sniff from the proper Isabella, sure that her book would right that situation. In spite of the moralizing tone, and the plagiarism, BOHM became a runaway bestseller. Readers and critics considered the soup, fish, sauce chapters…

Ladies of the Pen and the Cookpot: Isabella Beeton (Part I)

Today in Britain, “Mrs. Beeton” is a culinary trademark not unlike “Betty Crocker,” whom General Mills created in a Frankensteinian moment to boost sales by appealing to Every Housewife.

The difference between the two ladies is that Mrs. Beeton was a real, breathing, living personage who wrote a monster of a book with a monster of a title: The Book of Household Management Comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.—also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort, BOHM for short.

See Jane Cook:* A Word About Sophie Grigson’s Mum

Jane Grigson is the nearest thing that we have on this side of the great green bouillabaisse to M.F.K. Fisher, with learning and wit that are rarely devoted to such a banausic subject as stuffing food down one’s cake hole. ~~ Philip Howard No wonder I’m feeling a bit green. The annual Oxford Food Symposium…

A Bloody Fish Story

The price of fish is something nice — for fishmongers through the centuries, that is. And over the years, observers noted the rise and fall in the cost of fish according to the liturgical season and changes in the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.* Because of the price of fish, or even the mere…