PPC 097 (January 2012) PDF only

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PPC 97 (January 2012)

 

Contents

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21 Eating Kale in Aberdeenshire Jane Stevenson
28 Fresh Water Yachting: a Jewel among Cookbooks Maggie Armstrong
45 Celebrating with Altamiras: the Spirit of Fiesta Food Vicky Hayward
58 Kitchen Stories Gay Bilson
69 Terrains of Terrines David Thomson
75 On the Shapes of Tastes and Flavours Charles Spence & Ophelia Deroy

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

MAGGIE ARMSTRONG lives now in southern Italy but for many years drove barges on the great waterways of Europe. She is a photographer. GAY BILSON is a legend in Australian cookery, restauration and food-writing in her own lifetime. She lives in New South Wales. OPHELIA DEROY is at the Centre for the Study of the Senses, Institute of Philosophy, University of London. VICKY HAYWARD lives in Madrid. She has worked as a publisher’s editor and has written much about food in Spain. CHARLES SPENCE is Professor of Experimental Psychology and a fellow of Somerville College, Oxford. His publications in the field are manifold. He is the director of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory. JANE STEVENSON is Regius Professor of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen. She is also a novelist and has written a life of the artist Edward Burrough. With Peter Davidson, she edited Prospect’s edition of Sir Kenelm Digby. DAVID THOMSON is a cook who is trying to explore a career in food both inside and outside of the kitchen. He is currently working at Rose Bakery, Dover St Market, but soon to move in to school cookery with a keen interest in food media from writing to radio.

Preliminaries

LIFE IN GENERAL

We have had a busy televisual autumn. In November there was the documentary about the life and work of Dorothy Hartley. You will have not been honoured with my glorious comments which were excluded from the final edit. However there was much to delight the eye as well as the mind. Not much later, but for transmission in the Spring, there was a crew here with the great lady of British baking, Mary Berry. We had a most enjoyable day and I look forward to the fruits of it come transmission. If you’re hunting for Christmas presents, I can but urge you to buy one of the two following titles; they are both excellent and I particularly like the watercolour that we used for the Caroline Conran cover (the author being the artist).

CONGRESS AT RENNES

The 138th Congrès des Sociétés Historiques et Scientifiques is announced for the 22–27 April 2013. It is being held at the Université Rennes 2, Campus de Villejean. You can find out more at <www.cths.fr>. The subject of the congress is ‘Se nourrir: pratique et stratégies alimentaires’. I’m afraid that we are too late to ask you to contribute pieces for inclusion in the programme, but those of you who would like a few days in Rennes, a town which I unreservedly recommend, with at least one good restaurant, and one very good bookshop, here’s your chance. They say that the cost of attendance is €70.00 for the whole event and if you are unemployed (does this mean a pensioner?), it’s free!

ALL SOULS

Geraldene Holt kindly sent me a handsome leaflet describing the recently unveiled tryptich by the artist Benjamin Sullivan of the college staff at All Souls. It brings to mind the staff portraits at Erddig. The tryptich is currently on display at The Ashmolean so may even now still be visible. It is a wonderful piece of figurative art and portraiture – reminiscent to of Stanley Spencer.

BRIDGET HENISCH

Boydell are bringing out a paperback edition of The Medieval Cook in Spring 2013 in time for the medieval conference at Kalamazoo.

LAWRENCE NORFOLK

The whole house is reading, or waiting to read, John Saturnall’s Feast, this author’s latest astonishingly complex and detailed historical novel, this time concentrating on food and cookery in seventeenth-century England. You will have to wait for an opinion. I have sent a copy out for a proper review. He tips his hat to Kenelm Digby, Robert May and John Evelyn but fails to observe that decent versions of these can be obtained from Prospect Books. A failure redoubled when he prints a list of his ten best books in the Guardian and still fails to point out where they may be obtained.

FOOD IN HISTORY

A Conference has been announced by Institute of Historical Research on this topic for 11–12 July 2013 at the Senate House in London. They are calling for papers now. They describe their topic as follows: ‘From famine to feast, from grain riots to TV cookery programmes, dieting to domesticity, food features in almost every aspect of human societies since prehistoric times. At its annual summer conference in 2013 the Institute of Historical Research aims to showcase the best of current scholarly writing, research and debate on the subject. Our plenary lecturers include Ken Albala, Susanne Freidberg, Cormac O’Grada and Steven Shapin. The conference will include a publishers’ book fair, policy forum, film screenings and a historic food recreation event. Bursaries will be available enabling postgraduate students to attend. Panel proposals (three papers each plus chair) and individual paper proposals are invited on topics across the full range of food history from ancient to contemporary times, and from all areas of the world: for example: food technology and regulation; global foods and the globalization of food trade; migration and culinary culture; restaurants; food religion and status; diet and nutrition; individual commodities; agriculture, distribution and markets; retail, advertising and consumption. Early career researchers are particularly encouraged to participate. Please send your proposal to <FoodinHistory@lon.ac.uk> by 15 December 2012. The finalized conference programme will be published in January 2013. For any queries, please visit <www.history.ac.uk/aach13> or contact the IHR Events Office using the above email address or on 0207 862 8756.’

A BOOK FOR COOKS

This is a book published by Merrell, written by Leslie Geddes-Brown. It is an illustrated catalogue of 101 classic cookbooks in her library (or not, sometimes the books have been borrowed). Each title gets a short blurb and a couple of photographic spreads. These look nice, but cannot be used (in the case of recipes) because they do not necessarily illustrate a discrete section or instruction. What really irritates is that she fails to note where current editions of any of her choices may be obtained and that the actual books chosen for photographic treatment are not necessarily the first or best edition – just what happens to be on her shelves. Anyway, what’s the point of listing Alan Davidson, Patience Gray, Kenelm Digby and Hannah Glasse if you don’t give an up-to-date bibliography. Our colleagues at Grub Street must be even more irritated. And what’s the point of these random lists? They tell you zilch that you didn’t know before or, worse, they misinform: her commentary on Hannah Glasse manages an error at every turn.

C.V. HANCOCK

The attentive reader will recall that we used photographs by the late C.V. Hancock to illustrate Di Murrell’s article on narrowboat cookery in the last issue, and that I had discovered more about the photographer, whose albums I purchased at a post mortem sale. I had got as far as establishing that he was an intrepid fly fisherman and Literary Editor of the Birmingham Post. Imagine, therefore, my delight in receiving from Harlan Walker the minutes of a dinner in memory of C.V. Hancock enjoyed by The Buckland Club at the University of Birmingham in February 1973. Hancock was a founder member and the first secretary of this esteemed body of curious gourmands (Harlan Walker is now the Life President). It flourishes still. I give below edited extracts from the minutes which I think evocative of a recent past which seems on occasion more distant than expected.

Before dinner we drank sherry. As we were told later, C.V. Hancock loved sherry. He envied Falstaff who was able to buy two gallons for five and eight pence, but he did not insist that it came from Spain – indeed on one occasion he apologised for only offering Spanish sherry. We enjoyed our sherry, an amontillado from Spain and also envied Falstaff. We went into dinner and the Chairman … then explained to us the implications of an unexpected problem. That afternoon, for the first time, the Staff House was struck by the gas strike. There was no gas in the kitchen, so while boiling was still possible, they could not roast or bake. The effect on the menu will be referred to in due course. … After the hors-d’oeuvres the sponsor raised a doubt in our minds as to whether this really was the Club’s 21st birthday as apparently there had been a dinner before the first dinner. Members were however not too perturbed as they were already beginning to suspect that they were going to enjoy an especially agreeable evening; their expectations were to be fully realised. The sponsor had considered all C.V.’s interests and wondered whether the dinner should be geographical, topographical, historical or literary. There was in any case no doubt that it should be partly piscatorial but otherwise he decided on a compromise including references to the Club’s history and some of C.V.’s favourite dishes, if these could be ascertained. We ate poached Severn salmon with hollandaise sauce and drank Puligny Montrachet 1970. The fish really came from the Severn though the sponsor had not been fortunate enough to catch one for us himself. C.V. had loved the Severn and when he founded the Midland Flyfishers he was looking forward to the Severn’s revival as a salmon river. Several of the splendid quotations printed in the menu were repeated and elaborated by the sponsor. The quotation from the Club’s Minutes referring to, ‘outlandish dishes from the remotest margins of the Celtic fringe’ had seemed at the time to be merely an apt and witty phrase. Members now learned that it was inserted to annoy Professor Bodkin. Returning to salmon, the sponsor told us that the quotation from the Berwick Advertiser of 1891 was probably the result of the eating of kelts by the unwise or perhaps the hungry. Buckland of course was neither of these, but in his usual spirit of scientific enquiry, he certainly ate a kelt. We do not know the effect on his digestion. Members then learned that C.V. did not like Champagne. He was even inspired to verse on the subject: The wine is full of gases. To me it is offensive. You like it, silly asses, Because it is expensive. Then came the first course to be affected by the strike. Instead of roast saddle of lamb, we had boiled saddle of lamb with caper sauce. Many members felt that this dish, which they had never had before, was delicious. In any case there was no doubt that Mr. Reynolds and his staff had risen splendidly to the occasion. We were then told of what turned out to have been a fortunate decision. The original choice for this course had been roast sucking pig as C.V. had eaten it in Yorkshire and found it excellent. When he returned the following year and asked for it again, he was told that, ‘this year the litter all lived’. Many members were glad of the saddle of lamb, doubting the pleasures of boiled sucking pig even with caper sauce. C.V.’s favourite wine was Pontet-Canet. An uncle advised him at an early age that it would ‘never let you down’. C.V. asked for it wherever he went. The sponsor thought that there were probably fishing inns in the West of Ireland still trying to get rid of Pontet-Canet ordered for C.V. when he stayed there. Some members, even non-fishermen, intrigued by the thought of a surplus of old Pontet-Canet, perhaps being sold off cheap, made a mental note. On this occasion however we did not drink Pontet-Canet. The secretary does not quite know why not. Perhaps its reputation for not letting you down has spread and it is too expensive. We drank claret from a neighbouring vineyard, Grand Puy Lacoste 1962 and very nice it was. We went on to our next course affected by the failure of the gas. C.V. would have had much to say on such a subject. Instead of ‘Grand Marnier Soufflé’, we had ‘Peaches with Orange Sorbet’. Well done Mr. Reynolds again. The sponsor then told us more about C.V. and his investigations for the dinner. He had approached C.V.’s sister, who had kept house for him for many years, to ask about his preferences in food. All he had succeeded in getting from her was that, ‘he was very fond of fish’, which of course Scott Atkinson did know. So it is strange that, with one exception which we will come to, our first secretary, in many ways the person who most created the atmosphere and pattern of our dinners and who was undoubtedly seriously and keenly interested in the pleasures which we enjoy here, has left us very little about his personal tastes – one wine and ‘very fond of fish’. It doesn’t seem much. However the exception is important, even if it didn’t help in the planning of our dinner. His views on the packed lunch are worth quoting in full: ‘It is a fallacy to suppose that the inner angler requires no nourishment during a long day’s fishing. On the contrary he requires plenty of nourishment and of two kinds. Let there be no nonsense about sandwiches and drinking from the spring. The ingredients of a well composed packed lunch are: a cold chicken, fresh young lettuce, salt, butter, bread, a pot of strawberry jam, a plum cake, a camembert cheese, a bottle of port, three syphons of soda, a bottle of whiskey and two handsome cigars to smoke on the way home.’ Our sponsor could say of C.V. that ‘fishing was his life’, that ‘his erudition overflowed into everything that he wrote’, that he was one of the last Bible Scholars of All Souls, that he was outstandingly clubbable – he founded two fishing clubs, a photographic club, a literary club, a railway club and was one of the founders of this club – that, like Frank Buckland, he had an insatiable curiosity about life as a whole and about its parts. Those of us who knew him were reminded and those who did not were illumined by many splendid anecdotes told by our sponsor. C.V. was of course a confirmed bachelor and once sitting next to a lady journalist at a public banquet there was apparently not much successful communication. Over coffee she remarked, ‘ Mr. Hancock, you’ve never married.’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘Oh, I do think it so right of you!’ she said. On another occasion he lost his glasses and through some error they were returned to the Birmingham Prison instead of the Birmingham Post. They ultimately reached him with a note that they had ‘a Hancock but these are not his initials or his glasses’. C.V. replied, ‘I am sorry that you have a Hancock but I am glad that they were not his glasses.’ Our menus terminated with the brief and cryptic phrase ‘kiss wife’. Most members were willing even though it did not say whose wife. It appeared though that C.V. told of a fisherman who had a list of jobs to be done before going fishing. This was the last item. C.V.’s habit of tying flies of various locally obtained materials led to his procurement of locks of hair from the wives and daughters of his friends and also to the disappearance whenever he arrived of a cat from the house of another friend. … We drank port, Cockburns 1955. ‘Fishermen are partial to port.’ So are members of this club. We are not in the habit of drinking formal toasts, but on this occasion we were happy and proud to drink to our first secretary and the inspirer of the club, C.V. Hancock.

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra writes from Holland to say that her book Het Nederlands Bakboek has been well received in her home country and shortlisted for Cookbook of the Year. She came to Prospect with her Windmills in my Oven, of which the Dutch is a much improved translation/revision (and very handsome too), because she despaired of it seeing the light of day in Holland. One raison d’être for our existence is revisiting old masters, another is maintaining the flames of the living, a third is to give deserving first-timers a chance to show their quality. I never expect them to do a second book with us, what they need to do is make shedloads from the commercial publishing world. Recently, Sally Butcher did this with her great success, Veggiestan, published by Pavilion. And now she is followed by Gaitri. Bravo!

FRUMENTE

I am grateful for the following learned communication from William Sayers: ‘William Woys Weaver’s recent article in these pages, ‘The Lughnasa Platter: The Celtic Origins of Christmas Frumenty’, invites us to consider the harvest festivals of pre-Roman Gaul and how the year’s crops might have been incorporated and served on ritual or festive tableware such as the large first-century ad platter of Samian ware found in northern Africa but likely manufactured in southern Gaul.1 Weaver suggests that frumenty, a potage made of boiled hulled wheat mixed with animal broth or milk, might have figured in such festivals dedicated to the divine figures that decorate the rim of the platter. His speculations raise the interesting question of which other elements of continental Celtic cuisine might have been absorbed into Gallo-Roman culture, survived into medieval French cooking and dining, and ultimately have been brought to Britain with the infusion of French language and French cooking that followed the Conquest. Weaver notes that the name frumenty is to be traced not to a Gaulish word but to Latin frūmentum ‘wheat’.2 Before exploring the fragmentary Gaulish evidence, let us follow frūmentum forward to early pre-modern times in France and Britain. As it happens, the first written evidence for the dish comes not from France itself but from Britain. In the late thirteenth-century, Walter of Bibbesworth wrote a treatise on the French vocabulary required to effectively manage a country estate. His closing section is devoted to the arrangements for a feast in the lord’s hall.3 Bread, wine and beer are the staples. The first course features a boar’s head, with the snout decorated. Then follows a course of game (venesoun) with formenté. This is only the beginning, and cranes, peacocks, swans, and wild geese follow. For Walter’s full text, see Andrew Dalby’s recent translation.4 Other Anglo-French texts also associate frumenty with game, mutton, and porpoise (considered a fish during Lent).5 This may represent the niche it occupied in a full-scale banquet menu.6 However, one can easily imagine it served in other, less formal contexts. The association with game supports Weaver’s linking of frumenty with the cereal harvest and hunting season but not his imagined scenario of pork, ham, and sausages being served with Gaulish frumenty (57). The Norman-French term frumentee was absorbed into Middle English, which began to find written expression around 1300. In the so-called alliterative Morte Arthure (Death of King Arthur), from about 1400, we find ‘Flesch fluriste of fermysone with frumentee noble’ (‘venison fattened up in the season closed to hunting, with fine frumenty’).7 Medieval recipes focus on the care needed with the cracked wheat and milk and there is no mention of fruits that might be added. An often-cited recipe in Middle English from 1381 begins: ‘For to make Furmenty. Nym clene Wete and bray it in a morter wel that the holys gon al of and seyt yt til it breste … nym fayre fresch broth and swete mylk of Almandys or swete mylk of kyne and temper yt al … messe yt forthe wyth fat venyson and fresh moton’.8 Here, too, the pairing with game continues, although instances of the term cited in the Oxford English Dictionary suggest that this lessened over time, until the dish was gradually eclipsed in the late nineteenth century. Frumenty plays a key role in the plot of Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, part of the West Sussex period atmosphere. In France, too, fromentée continued to be served as a rustic dish into the nineteenth century.9 Now, to turn now our culinary telescope in the opposite direction, what more can we learn of cookery in Gaul? A comprehensive statement on the contribution of Gaulish, via Gallo-Latin, to the French language is problematic. Given the multiple parallels between Gaulish and Latin vocabulary, it is often difficult to state unequivocally that a French word is of Celtic origin. The historical evidence of Gaulish is restricted to epigraphical texts (charms, curses) employing a circumscribed choice of words in a variety of alphabets, plus numerous personal and place names. While new finds of inscriptions continue to be made and the most difficult texts are now yielding their secrets, major additions to the Gaulish corpus seem unlikely. Some etymological triangulation is possible, when Irish, Welsh, or Breton words bear a sufficient similarity to a recorded Gallo-Romance word to authorize the reconstruction of a Gaulish term. Many French or Provençal words of putative Gaulish origin are attested only from rural dialects, e.g., Gaulish buta ‘hut, simple dwelling place’ but boye ‘sheep shed’ in nineteenth-century French rural dialects.10 Since the golden age of the compilation of French dialect glossaries and word-lists is now past, thanks to technological advances and the spread of standard French, little new evidence can be expected from this quarter. Nonetheless, the last decades of scholarly effort devoted to the vocabulary of Gaulish have resulted in the identification of about 170 words that can be reasonably posited as at the origin of French words, standard, dialectal, and archaic.  The names of domestic animals have been preserved, e.g., banuos ‘young pig’, bo ‘cow’, caerac– ‘lamb’, damos ‘deer’, oxso– ‘ox’, but none for the meat served as food. Tree and plant names are similarly restricted. While we recognize English apple in Gaulish aballo– (although there is no direct filiation), French has pomme. Gaulish cnoua– ‘nut’ has a faint resemblance to French noix but the immediate source for the latter is Latin nux. Gaulish cularon ‘cucumber, gourd’ survives as culara, a dialect term in the French Dauphiné, but standard French courge (whence courgette ‘zucchini’) is drawn from Latin cucurbita. Nor, apparently, were other Gaulish terms such as bracis ‘malt’, curmi ‘beer’, mesgos ‘whey’ preserved in the Latin of Gaul. Gaulish ceruesa is, however, reflected in Spanish cerveza and Italian cervògia, while French cervoise is an outmoded term for barley beer. Gaulish medu ‘mead’ shares with the English word a descent from the Indo-European source of many European languages but did not leave a mark on French, where hydromel, modelled on Greek, is the standard term. The Gaulish contribution to the vocabulary of French food culture must then be judged minimal. This does not, of course, preclude the existence of a Celtic dish of cracked wheat boiled in milk, flavoured with fruit, and served on platters decorated with grapes, figs, and hares, but in later Gallo-Romance it came to be called by the name already assigned in Latin culture. Put more bluntly, there is no compelling evidence for the filiation implicit in Weaver’s sub-title, ‘The Celtic Origins of Christmas Frumenty’. This said, there is interesting evidence for the centrality of potages and gruels in the cuisine of the early Celts. The word iutta and lexical root iutu- are found in several tribal and personal names, perhaps as an element reinforcing the image of a people having ample food (Delamarre, 194). Asterix had a historical compatriot in Ioturix, the ‘Gruel King’. Iutta was adopted in Late Latin as iotta, a term referencing a soup or gruel cooked with milk. This is, evidently, far from frumenty and Latin frūmentum, and left no known trace in French, but does have interesting cognates, nearby and farther afield: Old Welsh, Old Cornish, and Old Breton iot, Old Irish íth, gruels made of cereal or pulse, Latin iūs ‘soup, broth’, Sanskrit yūs ‘meat soup’, and Lithuanian jūšė ‘fish soup’. Other evidence suggests that the Gauls, once conquered by Caesar, quickly turned to Latin as a communications medium that assured social advancement, as is paralleled in the later histories of speakers of the Celtic languages in the British Isles. Cuisine and culinary vocabulary may have been early victims to this upwardly mobile striving. Thus, tracing English frumenty to Gaulish ritual platters and moving between material culture and language may involve more than one slip ’twixt cup and lip. 1. William Woys Weaver, ‘The Lughnasa Platter: The Celtic Origins of Christmas Frumenty’, Petits Propos Culinaires 96 (2012), 53–58. 2. Weaver also mentions sops of bread that may have been used with the platter and frumenty. These he associates with the Gaulish term embrekta, but embrecton is currently understood as referring to fermented drinks (cf. bracis ‘malt’); Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise: une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental, 2nd ed. (Paris: Errance, 2003), 162. 3. Walter de Bibbesworth, Le Tretiz, ed. William Rothwell (Aberystwyth: Anglo-Norman Online Hub, 2009), vv. 1105–1135. 4. The Treatise of Walter of Bibbesworth, trans. Andrew Dalby (Totnes: Prospect Books, 2012). 5. Examples are listed in the Anglo-Norman Dictionary, eds. William Rothwell et al., 2nd ed. (Aberystwyth: Modern Humanities Research Association, 2005), s.v. frumenté, now also accessible at The Anglo-Norman Online Hub. All these are from utilitarian texts such as cook books and we have no narrative scene with the dish being served. We may be surprised to see game at the head of the menu. Placement aside, game may have been prized at banquets as the product of aristocratic sport. By beginning with game, then proceding to exotic dishes with imported spices, medieval diners were also replicating the history of human culture as they may have understood it, from the open, savage wilderness to the language, law, and social order of the structured noble hall. But this, as is said, is mere speculation. 6. Sample menus in The Good Wife’s Guide = Le ménagier de Paris: A Medieval Household Book, trans. Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009). 312. 7. King Arthur’s Death: The Middle English Stanzaic Morte Arthur and Alliterative Morte Arthure, ed. Larry Dean Benson (Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill, 1974), v. 180. See, too, Wynnere and Wastoure, ed. S. Trigg, (London: Early English Texts Society, 1990), vv. 334–35: ‘Venyson with the frumentee / and fesanttes full riche / /Baken mete therby the burde sett’. 8. The Forme of Cury, ed. Samuel Pegge (London, J. Nichols, 1780), 91. 9. George Sand, Le Meunier d’Angibault (Brussels: Cans et compagnie, 1845), 57. 10. The increasingly negative connotations of the term – slipping from house to byre – have a milestone in late thirteenth-century poor laws from the Belgian town of Tournai, in which bute is a synonym for ‘public house’ – a locale where the poor should NOT be spending their alms; see William Sayers, ‘Gaulish in French Lexis and Lexicography: The Case of buta “hut, small dwelling”’ (forthcoming).

LEEDS SYMPOSIUM 2013

The 28th annual meeting of the Leeds Symposium on Food History will be held on Saturday 27 April at the Friends Meeting House, Friargate, York. The theme will be Fruit (part 2 of our ‘five-a-day’ duo). The full programme will be available around mid-January 2013. Anyone who is not on the regular mailing list, and would like to receive a copy, please write to C. Anne Wilson, c/o Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT.

OXFORD SYMPOSIUM 2013

The subject this year is Food and Material Culture. Anyone interested in presenting a paper should submit a proposal of 500-1000 words by 1 February 2013 to Mark McWilliams at editor@oxfordsymposium.org.uk and include their contact information. While the subject ‘material culture’ is open to wider interpretation, paper-presenters are asked to confine themselves to the phenomena and paraphernalia surrounding food as applied to preparing, cooking, serving and eating. Material culture can be viewed as what results when an artefact fulfils the purpose for which it’s intended – the kettle is of no value if it can’t be used to boil water. While keeping the primary function of any given object in mind, we might discuss the whisk but not the egg, the freezer but not the ice-cream, the spoon but not the soup, the cupboard but not the items stored, the menu but not the meal consumed. Within these wide parameters, the organizers welcome contributions on serving-dishes, microwave ovens, ice-houses, chicken-bricks, chefs’ uniforms, fish-drying racks, appurtenances of beverages such as tea and coffee, menus as guides and appetite-stimulators, kitchen and restaurant designs – anything that relates to things culinary. Agricultural instruments and laundry-equipment are ineligible, as not being part of a food-transformation process. Excursions are also invited into the psychological and emotional effect of presenting foods: on golden dishes or in silver tureens, or on delicate bone-china or rustic earthenware, or the stimulating effects that come in the form of a puff of perfumed air. Consideration might also be given to the influence of TV cookery programmes on domestic habits, the effect of the restaurant experience on home-cooking, the influence of photography on the way we serve our meals. If what we eat is altered and shaped by the artefacts we use to transform what nature provides, material culture matters. For further information consult the website at <http://oxfordsymposium.org.uk/>.

THE ARISTOLOGIST

We have not got number 1 of this new journal from New Zealand, but as I write I heft number 2 in my other hand. The Aristologist is subtitled An Antipodean Journal of Food History. It contains material presented to the N.Z. Food History Symposium, but offers much more than that. It is produced, edited, typeset and created by Duncan Galletly, a gastronomic medical man (an important sub-species of Homo gastronomicus). Everything about it is to be applauded. The articles, as might be expected, concentrate on New Zealand’s history but are never parochial. For example, Galletly’s own contribution, on the history of Spanish Cream (1658–1930) ranges widely, even if the dessert itself is now an Antipodean favourite. Contributions include enticing facsimiles such as The ‘Balloon’ Baking Book produced by Hudson’s ‘Balloon’ Brand Baking Powder (1917–19), and an there is an interestin