Friday, March 11, 2011

Short, Sweet Story.

I have for you today a fine romantic tale in which the food is as much a star as the two lovers. It has only a tenuous connection with food history, its sole excuse being that I found it in a marvellous book from which I have previously drawn blog material - Morton’s Sixpenny Almanack and Diary published in 1876.

For those wordsmiths amongst you, this story inspires a challenge. The story is a mere 149 words long – but every word begins with the letter ‘S’. Can you do better with another letter of the alphabet (the story must include mention of food)? I promise to try my best to find a historical recipe for any entries submitted. There is no prize except the honour of your clever work being included in a blog post.

Here is the story:

Sam Small sauntered slowly scullery-ward, supperless. Saw Sal Swift sitting silently-shelling small sweetpeas. Says Sam, snappishly, "Some supper, Sally ?" Says Sal, "S'pose so." Says Sam, "Stir smartly, Sal, Sam's starving." Says Sal, smilingly, "Some soup Sam, sauer-kraut, sausages. Say something suits." Says Sam speedily, "Stir some shortcake. Some strawberries, syrup, sugar. Some such sweet stuff suits Sam." Sal stirred self spryly, stepped swiftly, spread sideboard speedily; supper soon stands smoking side Sam. Says Sam, sheepishly, " Soon's supper's swallowed shall say something, Sally." Sal sat stirring sweetmeats. Sam stole several sidelong squints Sally-wards. Sal started, simpered, stammered, spying, " Speak Sam." Says Sam, " Shall select spouse sometime. Sally, s'pose Sam'll suit? Shall Sam stand side Sal?" Sal stole swiftly Sam's side, saying softly, "Sam suits Sally." Sam seized Sal's slender self, stole several sweet smacks speedily, sealing Sal securely. Sal seemed supremely satisfied. So story stops short.

For the recipe for the day I give you Strawberry Shortcake from Jennie June’s American Cookery Book, published in 1866, a decade before our short sweet story for the day.

Strawberry Shortcake.
Mix dough as for soda biscuit; that is to say, one quart of sifted flour, piece of butter size of an egg, two tea-spoonsful of cream of tartar, one of soda, a pinch of salt, and sweet milk to form a soft dough. Put cream of tartar in the flour, and soda in dry also, and, when thoroughly mixed, roll out half an inch thick and bake in a shallow pan fifteen or twenty minutes; have ready two quarts of fresh, fine strawberries; split the cake, place half the strawberries between and cover thickly with white sugar and cream; put the other half on the top and cover in the same way; send to the table immediately. This is the method of making at the finest city restaurants.

Quotation for the Day.

“Even the coeur flottant merveilleux aux fraises, presented with a great flourish, made little impression, for it was no more than what may happen to the simple, honest dish of strawberries and cream once it falls into the hands of a Frenchman.”
Dr. Watson in 'Sherlock Holmes and the Hapsburg Tiara' by Alan Vanneman (2004)


The InTolerant Chef ™ said...

Thought you might like to know that you were featured in the Canberra Times food and wine section on Wednesday. They feature a food blog every week, and this week they picked you.

Marcheline said...

Excellent story! Delicious sounding recipe! And the quote from Sherlock Holmes was like a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Perfect.

The Old Foodie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Old Foodie said...

Thanks Chef! I didn't know about this! What fun!

SharleneT said...

Great post and fantastic challenge. Is there a deadline? What have you done? I'm working on it... I'm working on it...

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Sharlene - there is no deadline for a good story - I can revive an old post anytime. How are you going with the challenge?