The Anxious Cook

Next morning they would go over the dishes – the soup, the salmon; the salmon, Mrs Walker knew, as usual underdone, for she always got nervous about the pudding and left it to Jenny; so it happened, the salmon was always underdone.                                                                             (Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway)

However much I love cooking – or perhaps because I love it so much – I often get anxious when cooking, particularly when cooking for others. Will there be enough food? Will my guests like it? Will it be perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned? Will I impress as a cook?  Continue reading “The Anxious Cook”

A literary compendium of 20th century English food

I don’t usually reread modern fiction – classics are quite a different matter – but this week I’ve been rereading Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life.

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Pea Soup

One of the starters at the First World War Supper Club has a long and distinguished history in literature.  Pea soup – which appears in May Byron’s Pot-luck, our source recipe book for our 1914-inspired menu – is mentioned in the Ancient Greek play, The Birds, by Aristophanes (first performed 414BC).  The servant of Tereus, an Athenian prince who has been turned into a bird, explains how he must serve his master and bring him all types of food:  “Again he wants some pea-soup; I seize a ladle and a pot and run to get it.”
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