on food , mostly .
After a bad reaction to statins in January , it became imperative to find another way to lower my cholesterol ... to get the specialist off my back , if nothing else .
A few cookbooks later , I was rewarded yesterday by his surprised , "Hardly anyone does it with diet alone ... but you have ". I've never eaten so much Ratatouille in my life and I'd kill for a Ploughman's . But , like all diets , to work it'll have to become a way of life . So I'm subliminating all this yearning for dairy foods and bacon butties in a purely scholarly interest in stuffing your face , 18th century style .
This book's fascinating . Not to cook from ; it all sounds very beige and brown , contains alarming amounts of cream , eggs and boiled fresh water fish and the quantities alone would kill one . There's a Maigre Sauce , for instance , for a boiled salmon jowl made from fish broth , a roux , cream and the yolks of 4-5 eggs .
But it is full of little bits that make me smile . There's a recipe for Turbot a l'Italienne that says that the fish must be simmered very gently "for about an hour , that it may be done rather by fumigation than hasty boiling "
When making soup soup from Nantiles , a sort of French grain ( like Barley , perhaps ) "You must be so extravagant as to have a roasted partridge ..." , probably to zip it up a bit .
Or to warm a cream sauce "Just shew it to the fire".
I'm not proposing to make any of this . It was definitely cooking for the well-to-do with scuttling kitchen staff . Never mind about cholesterol levels , there's the strong possibility of gout . There's an awful lot of offal in there .
But I must at least try using his wider range of herbs and greenery . Purslane and sorrel , pimpernel and savory , burnet and parsley roots . And if I ever have occasion to fry a batch of minnows , remember to add primrose flowers and tansie .
At the very least I can aim for "Genteel and good dishes ... that never fail of being well eaten "
In moderation .