Today, September 21st …
Benjamin Franklin recorded his experiences en route to
Wednesday, Sept. 21. - This morning our steward was brought to the geers and whipped, for making an extravagant use of flour in the puddings, and for several other misdemeanors.
It is difficult to be sure of the exact nature of his crimes but let me tell you - the cook got off lightly compared to some of his colleagues in history. Mind you, some cooks’ crimes are rather larger in scale than being a bit heavy-handed with the flour: in a previous story we saw what havoc can be wreaked by a shipboard cook with a temper and a cleaver.
Richard Roose, a cook in sixteenth century England was boiled to death in a large pot, having been found guilty of poisoning several members of the household of the Bishop of Rochester (and inadvertently several paupers who received the leftovers as alms) in 1532. The legislation which enabled this particularly gruesome execution was especially enacted and made retrospective for his case - presumably on the principle of making the punishment fit the crime. It seems likely, or at least possible, that poor Richard was the fall guy for one of the movers and shakers of the political and religious conflict of Henry VIII’s reign, as the probable intended victims were well and truly involved in it all.
I have chosen an entirely different sort of pudding – far too extravagant for seaboard life, but I am sure Ben Franklin would approve. It is from a famous cookbook of his time –
To Make an Italian Pudding.
Beat half a score Eggs well with a Pint of Cream, add to them a Penny white Loaf grated, and a grated Nutmeg; mix them well together, then butter the Bottom of a Dish, and lay upon it half a score Pippins cut in slices, and a little Orange-peel, strew over them some fine Sugar, and pour on them half a Pint of Wine: Then put in your Pudding, lay over it a Puff-paste, and set it into the Oven, it will be done in half an Hour. Lay Paste also round the sides of the Dish.
Monday’s Story …
The Price of Cloves.
Quotation for the Day …
I seem to you cruel and too much addicted to gluttony, when I beat my cook for sending up a bad dinner. If that appears to you too trifling a cause, say for what cause you would have a cook flogged ?
Marcus Valerius Martialis (Martial), First Century Roman poet.