Saturday, 27 September 2014

cold fish au porto

He ordered a meal that a shopgirl out on the spree might choose – cold fish au porto, a roast bird, and a piping hot soufflé which concealed in its innards a red ice, sharp on the tongue.
Chéri (1920)

More on Chéri's inner coldness here.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

red mullet, done somehow with lemons

The waiters hovered beside us, the courses came, delicious and appetizing, and the empty plates vanished as if by magic. I remember red mullet, done somehow with lemons, and a succulent golden-brown fowl bursting with truffles and flanked by tiny peas, then a froth of ice and whipped cream dashed with kirsch, and the fine smooth caress of the wine through it all. Then, finally, apricots and big black grapes, and coffee. The waiter removed the little silver filtres, and vanished, leaving us alone in our alcove. The liqueur brandy was swimming in its own fragrance in the enormous iridescent glasses, and for a moment I watched it idly, enjoying its rich smooth gleam, then I leaned back against the cushions and looked about me with the eyes of a patient who has just woken from the first long natural sleep after an anaesthetic. Where before the colours had been blurred and heightened, and the outlines undefined, proportions unstable, and sounds hollow and wavering, now the focus had shifted sharply, and drawn the bright little restaurant into sharp dramatic outline.
Mary Stewart
Madam, Will You Talk? (1954)

On the Mary Stewart formula.

Mary Stewart Reading Week, 
hosted by Gudrun's Tights

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

diluting the milk

He didn't know – he couldn't possibly have known – that in spite of all her economies, in spite of stinting and scraping, of eschewing meat, and eating margarine instead of butter, and diluting the milk, and buying the very cheapest tea that floated like dust on the top of your cup, Miss Buncle's account at the bank was overdrawn by seven pounds fifteen shillings and would soon have been overdrawn by more; for the dividends, which had been steadily decreasing, had now practically ceased. There were tears in Miss Buncle's eyes as she signed the receipt and folded up the amazing note. Fancy that tiny piece of paper representing so much! It really was rather astonishing (when you come to think of it) what that tiny piece of paper represented – far more than a hundred sovereigns (although in modern finance less). It represented food and drink to Barbara Buncle, and, perhaps, a new winter coat and hat; but, above all, freedom from that awful nightmare of worry, and sleep, and a quiet mind.
D. E. Stevenson
Miss Buncle's Book (1934)

Some thoughts here.