gillpolack (gillpolack) wrote,

Today I'm overwhelmed by recipes. I have whittled 1500 pages of possible banquet recipes to 500 pages and if any late 18th/early 19th century writer rants round me about how best to treat thrush in children or why the poor need soups that are made with special economy and attention to their health, I might scream. Unfortunately, there is something a tad patronising about advice books of any period and more than a tad patronising about Napoleonic encyclopediac advice books. Shame the one I worked with most of today had good recipes. I couldn't just delete most of it and say 'not relevant'.

The advice was useful. It just palled after a while. Let me give you a couple of excerpts of the less didactory aspects. You never know when this stuff will come in handy, so memorise it. Mrs Mary Eaton is the illustrious author. She didn't write all of today's 1500 pages, but she's the only one who ventured outside the pure culinary.

"NANKEEN DYE. The article generally sold under this title, and which produces a fine buff colour so much in use, is made of equal parts
of arnetto and common potash, dissolved and boiled in water. The
yellow colour called Dutch Pink, is made from a decoction of weld or
dyer's weed ; and if blue cloths be dipped in this liquid, they will take the colour of a fine green."

and, for when you're next shopping for plovers

"PLOVERS. In purchasing plovers, choose those that feel hard at
the vent, which shows they are fat. In other respects, choose them by
the same marks as other fowl. When stale, the feet are harsh and dry.
They will keep a long time. There are three sorts of these birds, the
grey, the green, and the bastard plover, or lapwing."

My grumbles are brought on by exhaustion. I love this sort of book. It's just that people from three directions came to me a couple of days ago and said "It's a quiet time of the year. Let's add a complication to what we asked you to do last year. It's a bit more work, but think of the results." The results are that I am falling behind in the time of the year that's normally mine free and clear. I doubt I will get to write anything new until mid-February and I will only find time to do synopses and stuff if my health remains solid. So suddenly everything feels fatigued.
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