Thursday, 27 November 2014

fillet de sole à la Jeanette

'You have been to the Riviera before, Georges?' said Poirot to his valet the following morning. George was an intensely English, rather wooden-faced individual.
'Yes, sir. I was here two years ago when I was in the service of Lord Edward Frampton.'
'And today,' murmured his master, 'you are here with Hercule Poirot. How one mounts in the world!'
The valet made no reply to this observation. After a suitable pause he asked:
'The brown lounge suit, sir? The wind is somewhat chilly today.'
'There is a grease spot on the waistcoat,' objected Poirot. 'A morceau of Fillet de sole à la Jeanette alighted there when I was lunching at the Ritz last Tuesday.'
'There is no spot there now, sir,' said George reproachfully. 'I have removed it.'
'Très bien!' said Poirot. 'I am pleased with you, Georges.'
'Thank you, sir.'
Agatha Christie
The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)

This book offers one of my favourite clichés.

Tommy also eats sole à la Jeanette in The Secret Adversary
Was it a Christie invention?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

small cress sandwiches

In her brother Henry, who sat eating small cress sandwiches as solemnly as though they had been ordained in some immemorial Book of Observances, fate had been undisguisedly kind to her. He might so easily have married some pretty helpless little woman, and lived at Notting Hill Gate, and been the father of a long string of pale, clever useless children, who would have had birthdays and the sort of illnesses that one is expected to send grapes to, and who would have painted fatuous objects in a South Kensington manner as Christmas offerings to an aunt whose cubic space for lumber was limited. Instead of committing these unbrotherly actions, which are so frequent in family life that they might almost be called brotherly, Henry had married a woman who had both money and a sense of repose, and their one child had the brilliant virtue of never saying anything which even its parents could consider worth repeating. Then he had gone into Parliament, possibly with the idea of making his home life seem less dull; at any rate it redeemed his career from insignificance, for no man whose death can produce the item "another by-election" on the news posters can be wholly a nonentity.
Saki [H. H. Munro]
The Unbearable Bassington (1912)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

the liver deliquesced

It was the porcelain spoons, five of them. Goldilocks waited, her unused hand tucked, in accordance with its training, into the small of her back, as if it were the rule that all non-serving parts of her body must be tidied deferentially from view. Perhaps it was.
Michael peered at the lumps, heat-edged with brown, in their drip of soup.
'What are they?' he asked.
'Foie gras, sautéed in oloroso sherry.'
'Mmm, foie gras,' he enthused, making a hash of the r.
He picked up one of the spoons and tipped it into his mouth. The liver deliquesced.
'Wow, that's fabulous!' He nodded with vigorous sincerity, and a gentle swirly drunken feeling lingered in the movement's echo. He closed his eyes to steady himself.
When he opened them, Goldilocks had gone.
He still held his phone in one hand, and the spoon in the other. The spoon went in his pocket.
Leo Benedictus
The Afterparty (2011)