söndag 30 december 2012

Fråsseriets lovsång

Ursäkta att jag framhärdar med felstavandet, som en gång var rätt, men jag tycker att å är en så trevlig bokstav.

Så snart jag skrivit om dödssynderna så skakar Johannes fram en bok bok av Elizabeth Robins Pennell från 1896, som heter ”The Feasts of Autolycus, The Diary of a Greedy Woman”. Eftersom jag inte är lika allmänbildad, som Elizabeth, och hennes generation, fick jag både googla och slå i uppslagsverk för att lära mig vem Autolycus var. Det tycks finnas rätt många vid detta namn, och jag är fortfarande inte helt säker på vilken av dem Elizabeth hade i tankarna — men jag gissar att det var en kille från den grekiska mytologin, son till Deimachus. Vet du inte vem han var, så är du i gott sällskap — NE vet det inte heller.

Nu spelar det ingen som helst roll, vem han var — den roliga och välskrivna boken står på egna ben. Det är inte en receptsamling, utan författarens egna tankar kring mat och måltider. Som här om frukost:

Upon rising—and why not let the hour vary according to mood and inclination?—forswear all but the petit déjeuner: the little breakfast of coffee and rolls and butter. But the coffee must be of the best, no chicory as you hope for salvation; the rolls must be crisp and light and fresh, as they always are in Paris and Vienna; the butter must be pure and sweet. And if you possess a fragment of self-respect, enjoy this petit déjeuner alone, in the solitude of your chamber. Upon the early family breakfast many and many a happy marriage has been wrecked; and so be warned in time.

At noon once more is man fit to meet his fellow-man and woman. Appetite has revived. The day is at its prime. By every law of nature and of art, this, of all others, is the hour that calls to breakfast.

When soft rains fall, and winds blow milder, and bushes in park or garden are sprouting and spring is at hand, grace your table with this 19 same sweet promise of spring. Let rosy radish give the touch of colour to satisfy the eye, as chairs are drawn in close about the spotless cloth: the tiny, round radish, pulled in the early hours of the morning, still in its first virginal purity, tender, sweet, yet peppery, with all the piquancy of the young girl not quite a child, not yet a woman. In great bunches, it enlivens every stall at Covent Garden, and every greengrocer's window; on the breakfast-table it is the gayest poem that uncertain March can sing. Do not spoil it by adding other hors d'œuvres; nothing must be allowed to destroy its fragrance and its savour. Bread and butter, however, will serve as sympathetic background, and enhance rather than lessen its charm.

Eller om den oundgängliga osten:

With bread and cheese and kisses for daily fare, life is held to be perfect by the poet. But love may grow bitter before cheese loses its savour. Therefore the wise, who value the pleasures of the table above tender dalliance, put their faith in strong Limburger or fragrant Brie, rather than in empty kisses. If only this lesson of wisdom could be mastered by all men and women, how much less cruel life might be!

Nor is cheese without its poetry to comfort the hater of pure prose. Once the "glory of fair Sicily," there must ever linger about it sweet echoes of Sicilian song sung under the wild olives and beneath the elms, where Theocritus "watched the visionary flocks." Did not "a great white cream-cheese" buy that wondrous bowl—the "miracle of varied work"—for which Thyrsis sang the pastoral song? Cheese-fed were the shepherds who piped in the shadow of the ilex tree, while the calves were dancing 224 in the soft green grass; cheese-scented was the breath of the fair maidens and beautiful youths they loved. Is there a woman with soul so dead, who, when in a little country inn fresh cheese is laid before her, cannot fancy that she sees the goats and kids among the tamarisks of the sun-kissed Sicilian hills, and hears the perfect voices of Daphnis and Menalcas, the two herdsmen "skilled in song"?

Of what avail the morning's conference with the greengrocer's boy, or even the conscientious visit to the greengrocer's shop or the ramble through the market—unless, perhaps, and happily, her pockets be lined with gold, when hothouse vegetables, and out-of-season delicacies, must be paid for with the alacrity of a Crœsus? Otherwise, dark, hopeless despair seizes upon her? Must she not brood in abject melancholy 180 when the hideous truth is revealed to her that earth's resources are limited to turnip-tops and Brussels sprouts, with, it may be, a few Jerusalem artichokes thrown in? Celery, the lordly, is frozen. Cauliflower, the fragrant, frost-bitten irretrievably, will not yield to the most urgent inducements of hot water. Lettuce is a thing of the past and of the future. Sad and drear indeed is the immediate prospect. For surely turnip-tops are a delusion, and against the monotony of sprouts the aspiring soul rebels.

3 kommentarer:

  1. Sådan vacker poetisk beskrivning om små, runda och peppriga rädisor med bröd och smör är väl inte fråsseri! Det tycker jag är att ta tillvara det naturen och trädgårdsodlarens möda bjuder och tacksamt njuta.
    Menar jag som älskar rädisor.

    1. Olgakatt,
      Nej, det handlar verkligen inte om fråsseri. Att första kapitlet heter "THE VIRTUE OF GLUTTONY", är nog mer att betrakta som ett pukslag - för att få uppmärksamhet. Första meningen lyder:
      "Gluttony is ranked with the deadly sins; it should be honoured among the cardinal virtues."

  2. Underbart fråsseri, eller kanske icke-fråsseri! Njutbar text är det i alla fall, som passar bra i dessa dagar. Jag har en liknande varning (om det här med att man bör intaga sin första frukost lite enskilt) på kylskåpsdörren nämligen ett hotfullt:

    Beware, if I have not yet had my morning coffee...