Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Notes for Guests.

The Melbourne newspaper the Argus, of May 10, 1919 reported on a recent “Air Force” dinner that had been held in London for Mr. Winston Churchill (1874-1965),the newly appointed Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air.

The article demonstrates that frustration with the bureaucracy is not new, nor is the primary method of managing that frustration – maintaining a sense of humour. It is impossible to believe that these “Notes for Guests” were the creation of anything going by the name of “Board of Management.” A military joker, no doubt, having a laugh at the system.

An Air Force Dinner.
The following “Notes for Guests” were provided by the Board of Management for the guidance of those participating in a dinner to Mr. Churchill recently.
D.A.O. Boards /9999/Final. (Thank Heaven.)
No wines or spirits will be served without an Issue Warrant.
Serviettes will be provided in Triplicate.
The Menus are in batches of six colours – Red, Green, White, Blue, Pink, and Yellow.
The Red form must be attached to the cheque in payment of ticket.
The Green form must be handed to the Waiter along with your tip.
The White form to be sent to C.S.D. (X.Y.Z), 34 Department.
The Blue form can be retained as a souvenir.
The Pink form can be sent to your wife in advance of your return.
Anyone desirous of changing places or leaving the room must apply for a transit note.
The dinner has been arranged to take place at the Savoy hotel, bu the Ministry officials change their quarters so frequently that it is possible you may have to inquire later as to where the dinner will be actually held.
The price of the dinner has been fixed at 50/- but this is, of course, subject to any advances in wages that may be granted by the Ministry before the dinner is held.
Each guest will receive a contract number before going in to dinner, and this must be quoted on all documents referred to above.
It is hoped the above instructions will assist the guests to keep everything in order.

In honour of these fine airforce men, I give the following recipe from Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery (1870’s)

Military Puddings.
Mix well together half a pound of breadcrumbs, half a pound of moist sugar, and half a pound of finely-chopped suet. Mince the rind of a good-sized lemon, squeeze the juice, and stir into the mixture. Place the puddings in small buttered cups or moulds, and bake for half an hour in a tolerably quick oven. If preferred, military puddings may be boiled, if so, they must be made into small balls. In either case, serve with lemon or wine sauce.

Quotation for the Day.

My living in Yorkshire was so far out of the way, that it was eleven miles away from a lemon.
Sydney Smith.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

That reads downright militant. No surprise there, I suppose, but it made my throat tighten nonetheless.