The Stag Cook Book

stag_cook_book

 

This made me smile this morning:

 

They may live without houses and live without books,”
So the saying has gone through the ages,
“But a civilized man cannot live without cooks—”
It’s a libel, as proved by these pages!
For when left by himself in a small kitchenette,
With a saucepan, a spoon and a kettle,
A man can make things that you’ll never forget—
That will put any cook on her mettle.
Where camp fires glow through the still of the night,
Where grills are electric and shiny,
Where kitchens are huge, done in tiling of white,
Where stoves are exceedingly tiny,
Where people are hungry—no matter the place—
A man can produce in a minute
A dish to bring smiles to each skeptical face,
With art—and real food value—in it!
At range and at oven, at (whisper it!) still,
A man is undoubtedly master;
His cooking is done with an air and a skill,
He’s sure as a woman—and faster!
He may break the dishes and clutter the floor,
And if he is praised—he deserves it—
He may flaunt his prowess until he’s a bore. . . .
But, Boy, what he serves—when he serves it!
It is dedicated to:

Dedicated To
THAT GREAT HOST
OF BACHELORS AND BENEDICTS ALIKE

who have at one time or another tried to “cook something”; and who, in the attempt, have weakened under a fire of feminine raillery and sarcasm, only to spoil what, under more favorable circumstances, would have proved a chef-d’œuvre.

From the introduction:

Cooking is a gift, not an art. Eating is an art, not a gift. In combination a grace is developed. No great culinary triumph was ever perfected by accident.

Charles Lamb’s essay on roast pig was responsible for a tidal wave of burnt pork that swept over England in the nineteenth century. Mr. Lamb led a hungry empire to the belief that only through an act of incendiarism could a suckling porker be converted into a delicacy; whereas, as a matter of fact, the perfection of roast pork, golden-brown and unseared by fire, were possible only in the oven.

Lucullus, the good Roman gourmet, had his meals cooked in a mint. He required that his masterpieces be served on gold and silver and crystal, and spread on a table of lapis lazuli. The sauces compiled for him were worth more than the food upon which they were poured. He was the high priest of extravagance and luxury. A single meal stood him a fortune. He had more regard for the cost than for the cooking. It is said that his death was hastened by dyspepsia.

I haven’t yet had time  to browse it any further, it’s only been uploaded to Project Gutenberg three days ago, but if you are interested, you can download it for your digestion here.
Bon appétit!
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