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Gastronomic Wonderland in Words

‘Secret Ingredients’ is an anthology of articles from The New Yorker on food and drink. This is probably some of the best writing on food that one will get to read.

This one from the article titled ‘A Good Appetite’ by A.J.Liebling (1959) really whetted my appetite.

“In the heroic age before the First World War, there were men and women who ate, in addition to a whackling lunch and a glorious dinner, a voluminous souper after the theatre or the other amusements of the evening….In the restaurant on the Rue Saint-Augustin, M.Mirande would dazzle his juniors, French and American, by dispatching a lunch of raw Bayonne ham and fresh figs, a hot sausage by crust, spindles of filleted pike in a rich rose sauce Nantua, a leg of lamb larded with anchovies, artichokes on a pedestal of foie gras, and four of the five kinds of cheese, with a good bottle of Bordeaux and one of the champagne, after which he could call for the Armagnac and remind Madam to have ready for dinner the larks and ortolans she had promised him, with a few langoustes and a turbot – and , of course, a fine covet made from the marcassin, or young wild boar, that the lover of the leading lady in his current production had sent up from his estate in the Sologne. “And while I think of it,” I once heard him say, “we havent had any woodcock for days, or truffles baked in the ashes, and the cellar is becoming a disgrace – no more 34’s and hardly any 37’s. Last week, I had to offer my publisher a bottle that was far too good for him, simply because there was nothing between the insulting and the superlative”

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