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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Curtiosity about food

 Yes, there has been little coming from me.  I aitn't dead yet, as Granny Weatherwax was given to asserting. I have just had a tight focus on getting the first drafts of two books complete.  Here are some more of the epigraphs that never made it into books.

Australia favours an eclectic diet.
In a world where Australian wheat goes to China and the phosphate to grow it comes from Nauru, where iron ore goes from Australia to Japan and returns in part as heavy mining equipment to produce more iron ore, it is obvious that any meaningful human ecosystem must cover the world.
— Macfarlane Burnet, Dominant Mammal, Heinemann 1970, 128.

We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
Holy Bible, the Gospel according to St Matthew, 14: 17.

A certain young gourmet of Crediton
Took some paté de foie gras and spread it on
    A chocolate biscuit
    Then murmured, 'I'll risk it':
His tomb bears the date that he said it on.
— Limerick

The chief defect of Henry King
Was chewing little bits of string
— Hilaire Belloc (1870 - 1953) Cautionary Tales

I am the fire in the stomach which digests all food.
Bhagavad Gita, 15:14, in the translation of Eknath Easwaran, Arkana Books, 1985.

Some have meat and cannot eat,
  Some cannot eat that want it:
But we have meat and we can eat,
  Sae let the Lord be thankit.
— Robert Burns (1759 - 1796), The Kirkcudbright Grace.

Jack, eating rotten cheese, did say,
Like Samson I my thousands slay:
I vow, quoth Roger, so you do,
And with the self-same weapon too.
— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Impromptu

The Earle of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell, 7 yeares.  On his returne the Queen welcomed him home, and sayd, My Lord, I had forgott the Fart.
— John Aubrey (1625 - 1697), Brief Lives, Penguin edition, p. 465.

Amasis . . . prepared to lead them against Apries, who hearing of the danger which threatened him, sent Patarbemis, a distiguished member of his court, with orders to bring Amasis live into his presence.  Amasis, however, in answer to Patarbemis' summons, rose in his saddle (he was on horseback at the time), broke wind, and told him to take that back to his master.
— Herodotus (c. 480 BC - 425 BC), The Histories, Book 2, Penguin Classics, p. 195.

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet, I, ii, 129.

Who's your fat friend?
— Beau Brummell (1778 - 1840), of the then Prince of Wales.

When he lies on the opposite side, I can look directly into the cavity of the stomach, and almost see the process of digestion ... I have frequently suspended flesh, raw and wasted, and other substances into the perforation to ascertain the length of time required to digest each.
— William Beaumont, describing his experiments on Alexis St Martin.

Modern Australian breakfast, Alice Springs, N.T.
We enjoyed most gratefully our two wallabies, which were stewed, and to which I had added some greenhide to render the broth more substantial.  This hide was almost five months old, and had served as a case to my botanical collection, which, unfortunately, I had been compelled to leave behind.  It required, however, a little longer stewing than a fresh hide, and was rather tasteless.
— Ludwig Leichhardt, Journal of an Inland Expedition in Australia, 1847, quoted by A. B. and J. W. Cribb, Wild Food in  Australia, p. 15.

Should I refuse a good dinner, simply because I do not understand the process of digestion?
— Oliver Heaviside (1850 - 1925), on being accused of using mathematics he did not fully understand).

There isn't any nitrogen or phosphorus or albumen in ordinary things to eat.  In any decent household all that sort of stuff is washed out in the kitchen sink before the food is put on the table.
— Stephen Leacock (1869-1944), Literary Lapses (1910)

Slept not soe well after eating Rice pudden.
— Robert Hooke (1635-1703), diary.

And they spoke politely about the currents and the depths they had drifted their lines at and the steady good weather and of what they had seen.
— Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961), The Old Man and the Sea, 1952.

... whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
— Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745), 'A Voyage to Brobdingnag' in Gulliver's Travels.

If I were a Cassowary
On the plains of Timbuctoo,
I would eat a missionary
Coat and bands and Hymn-book too.
— attributed to Bishop 'Soapy Sam' Samuel Wilberforce

Less spectacularly, but more catastrophically, the insane farming practices in the south are steadily reducing the fertility per acre, which has fallen, in spite of machines and artificial fertilizers, forty per cent in the last seventy years.  In another forty years, they expect it to be at zero over large areas . . .
— Aldous Huxley, letter to Julian Huxley from California, 1941, Letters of Aldous Huxley, Chatto and Windus, 1969, p. 465.

. . . will the public and those in authority pay any attention to what you say, or will the politicians go on with their lunatic game of power politics, ignoring the fact that the world they are squabbling over will very shortly cease to exist in its old familiar form, but will be transformed, unless they mobilize all available intelligence and all available good will, into one huge dust bowl, inhabited by creatures whom hunger will make more and more sub-human?
— Aldous Huxley, letter to Fairfield Osborn, 16/1/1948, Letters of Aldous Huxley, Chatto and Windus, 1969, p. 578.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
— Nursery rhyme.

How can you or I or anyone know
How oats and beans and barley grow?
— English nursery rhyme

Thurs 18 Feb, 1790
... after I was relieved from Guard I went down to my Island to look at my Garden and found that Some Boat had landed since I had been there last and taken away the Greatest part of a fine Bed of Onions — it is impossible for any body to attemp to raise any Gardin Stuff for before it comes to perfection the[y] will Steal it — I thought that having a Garden on an island it would be more Secure but I find that they even get at it — my corn comes on as well as corn can doe...

Sunday 21 Feb
... Soon after Breackfast I went out in my Boat down to my Island to See my Garden and found that Some persons had been the again and have taken away all my potatoes — however the[y] are I wish that the[y] were in hell for the kindness..

Sunday 28th
... they have stole about 1500 Cobbs of corn...
— Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787-1792.  Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981.

Although they appear to treat their children kindly when they can in some measure help themselves, yet infanticide is frequent among the women, who often dislike the trouble of taking care of their babies, and destroy them immediately after birth, saying that 'Yahoo' or 'Devil-devil' took them. One woman, whom Mr. Meredith saw a day after the birth of her baby, on being asked where it was, replied with perfect nonchalance, 'I believe Dingo patta!' — She believed the dog had eaten it!  Numbers of hapless little beings are no doubt disposed of by their unnatural mothers in a similar manner.
— Louise Ann (Mrs Charles) Meredith, Notes and Sketches of New South Wales.  London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood:  Penguin Books, 1973, page 95.

You ought to be roasted alive, not that even well-cooked you would be to my taste.
— J. M. Barrie, to George Bernard Shaw, in response to GBS's criticism of his plays.

When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
'His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.'
— Hilaire Belloc (1870 - 1953), 'On His Books' in Stories Essays and Poems, Everyman Library 948, 1957, 413.

One word's as good as ten.
Wire in.  Amen.
— Trad., Australian shearer's grace.

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