Dinner is over

At rise of curtain, the four BIRLINGS and GERALD are seated at the table, with ARTHUR BIRLING at one end, his wife at the other, ERIC downstage, and SHEILA and GERALD seated upstage. EDNA, the parlour-maid, is just clearing the table, which has no cloth, of dessert plates and champagne glasses, etc., and then replacing them with decanter of port, cigar box and cigarettes. (J. B. Priestley, An Inspector Calls)

In most of my posts the food I write about plays an important role in the literary text and is described to a greater or lesser extent.   Continue reading “Dinner is over”

Afternoon tea

ALGERNON: When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. …At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins.
JACK: Well, that is no reason why you should eat them all in that greedy way. (Takes muffins from ALGERNON)
ALGERNON: (Offering tea-cake.) I wish you would have tea-cake instead. I don’t like tea-cake.

(Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest)

Food-wise you can’t get much more quintessentially English than afternoon tea: sandwiches (ideally cucumber and crustless), scones with jam and cream and an array of cakes. Continue reading “Afternoon tea”

The Corrupting Effects of Food

In my last post I wrote about apricots in The Duchess of Malfi and how they are used to ascertain the Duchess’s suspected pregnancy.  Once the pregnancy – and the Duchess’s marriage to her steward Antonio, her social inferior – are confirmed, the Duchess’s villainous brothers set out to destroy her and her family (see http://frompagetoplate.com/2014/05/25/apricots/)

The idea that food, rather than being a form of celebration or sustenance, can have a more malevolent side to it, is a popular idea in early 17th century Jacobean revenge drama.   Continue reading “The Corrupting Effects of Food”