‘I got a letter from the government the other day’ – actually it was a text from the NHS, telling me how to cope with the lockdown, and they helpfully suggested I might read a book or watch a film. (Some grown person was perhaps paid to come up with this idea).
So, of course, since I would always do exactly what the government tells me, I started reading The Code of the Woosters and when I came to page 99 I found this description of dinner at Sir Watkyn Bassett’s country pile, Totleigh Towers.
Bertie Wooster narrates: ‘Whatever Sir Watkyn Bassett’s moral shortcomings, he did his guests extradorinarily well at the festive board … it was plain to me in the first five minutes that his cook was a woman who had the divine fire in her. From a Grade-A soup we proceeded to a toothsome fish, and from the toothsome fish to a salmi of game which even Anatole (that’s Aunt Delia’s chef) would be proud to sponsor. Add asparagus and jam omlette and some spirited sardines on toast, and you will see what I mean.’
Well, I was doing OK until the jam omlette. I’d never heard of such a thing. I mean obviously I could work out what it was, but I didn’t know anybody actually ate it – but apparently they do. A little light googling reveals they eat it all over the world. In no time I found these versions:
|This is from taste.com.au|
|This is fromcookpad.com|
And of course American:
|This one's from mrbreakfast.com|
The general feeling seems to be that it’s a ‘sweet breakfast treat’ but I suppose anything you can have for breakfast you can have for other meals, even between the salmi and the sardines.
The film I watched, actually rewatched, was Edward Scissorhands – and this time I was struck by the wives who come to the party to welcome Edward to the neighbourhood, bearing dishes that they hope will please him. The star of these dishes is Ambrosia Salad which I’d vaguely heard of as some kind of all-American suburban extravaganza, but I’d have struggled to tell you what it was.
Turns out to be a fruit salad, made with canned fruit – chiefly though not necessarily exclusively, mandarin oranges, pineapples, cherries - along with mini marshmallows, the whole thing bound together with some kind of dairy product, such as whipped cream, sour cream, yoghurt or cottage cheese.
I think it might be a quite hard work to get that down between the salmi and the sardines, but thanks to the NHS I'm prepared to give it a go.