Books 2010

Books 2009

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Saturday, 11 April 2009


I knew I wouldn't be able to agree with you about meat and fat! But these buddies do:
Isn't that portrait gallery stunning? Please focus on the Golden Tabby and the Royal White; there are respectively only 30 (thirty!) and 12 (twelve!) of them left in the whole world! What a pity!

What you say would have sounded even more provoking ten months ago but it is quite common in this credit crunch times to find such articles and opinions in newspapers. We are now back to traditions and essentials, we are encouraged to save everything we can and to make the most of what we have. Whereas the future is uncertain, such behaviour must be quite reassuring, I assume.

And finally, about Jeudi gras.
Mardi gras (Fat Tuesday) is the last day of the Carnival, Lent always begins on a Wednesday (mercredi des Cendres, Ashes' Wednesday in English?). Jeudi gras is the Thursday before Mardi gras, ie six days before Lent. The last week of Carnival was traditionally full of celebrations and parties and dinners and public events of all kind. The procession mentioned in The Times article is probably one of them but I never heard of it. Lent being a period of time when meat is not allowed (Carnival=carnem levare), it makes sense to celebrate with a fat cattle.
And by the way, Goldoni wrote a play whose title is "One of the last days of the Carnival". For more details, you can look at it.

Your point about roasting potatoes in goose fat is well made, Lindsay, but - and I hesitate to reveal this here - I recently made Yorkshire puddings and put the batter into sizzling olive oil rather than dripping (in order to accommodate our vegetarian) and the results were superb!
(You can go to the foot of our stairs, if you like...)

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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