Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cad in the kitchen

In the Weekend section of today's Daily Telegraph, sadly not available online, there is a review of W.M.W Fowler's book Countryman's Cooking. It is probably just as well that Fowler died in 1977, without his book coming to the attention of Germaine Greer; he might otherwise have finished up in one of his own pies.

The recipes look good enough, but the author's comments and prejudices are absolutely delicious. The introduction explains that the book is intended for 'men who, through choice or circumstance, live on their own' but who want to give small dinner parties. The man must do the macho preparations of hunting, skinning and eviscerating the meat, but then call on 'liberal use of blandishments and flattery' to procure a glamorous pastry maker.

Here is his recipe for rabbit pie:

This is an excellent dish. The only snag is that you must have some pastry;
and here, I fear I cannot help you. So far I have been able, by the liberal use
of blandishments and flattery to get someone else to make it for me. Anyway,
what better gambit could you have than "Come and make the pastry for my rabbit
pie, darling."?

Well now, presupposing that you have your glamorous pastry-maker positively
champing at the bit, cook the rabbit either in the same way as for a casserole,
or else dispense with the marinade and begin by flouring and frying. Then simmer
in a saucepan, using cider or mild beer as a cooking liquor. Don't forget the
salt. Whilst this is cooking, hard-boil three eggs and cut the rind off half a
pound of bacon - smoked or plain as you prefer.

Take the meat off the bones as soon as it is ready to come. You will now
have finished for the time being, with the kitchen table, so, having fortified
your pastry maker with a couple of stiff gins, let her loose with some flour,
lard, a bowl and a rolling pin. Look admiring and make encouraging noises from a
safe distance.

He adds this caveat:

"Don't kiss her till she has carried out her duties. You will find the situation gets quickly out of hand and you end up, hours later, with no gin and no lid on your pie."


  1. Heh heh - very good. But no amount of blandishments would get Anna to make a rabbit pie, sadly.

  2. Perhaps you haven't been caddish enough!


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