Friday, July 22, 2022


 If you find yourself in the caff at the Cambridge Botanic Garden and you're allergic to gluten, sesame, dairy, nuts and pork, then you'd probably be better off not ordering the Parma ham, pesto, cheddar and rocket focaccio sandwich.  Just sayin'.

The one in the back is feta and spinach - slightly safer.  If you're looking for safety in your meals.

Friday, July 15, 2022


 You recall me banging on a few posts back about Raymond Chandler and 



I can’t think of Chandler without also thinking of PG Wodehouse – two men who performed miracles with the English language while remaining not quite English and not quite American. Hell, they even went to the same school – Dulwich College - though not quite at the same time.


And therefore it will come as no surprise that Wodehouse thought and wrote about sandwiches, as in this passage from ‘Jeeves and the Old School Chum,’ the ‘old chum’ being Bingo Little:


‘If young Bingo has a fault, it is that, when in the society of a sandwich he is apt to get a bit rough. I’ve picnicked with him before, many a time and oft, and his method of approach to the ordinary tongue or ham sandwich rather resembles that of the lion, the king of beasts, tucking into an antelope.'


Predictably I can’t find a picture of PG tucking into a sandwich, but there’s this:

And, of course, there's always this:

Saturday, July 9, 2022


 I’ve been reading Georges Perec’s, ‘Attempt at an Inventory of the Liquid and Solid Foodstuffs Ingurgitated by Me in the Course of the Year Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Four,’ first published in 1976.

And a fine French inventory it is, containing, among many others, Coquilles St-Jacques, two chateaubriands, one jellied daube, 22 dishes involving rabbit, and he scores 75 cheeses, though he doesn’t list them all.  He also has ‘two stewed rhubarb and quetsch.’  I’d never heard of quetsch but apparently it’s either a kind of plum and/or a kind of Alsatian plum brandy.  


Did I have food and drink envy while reading?  You bet.


In the days of social media many of us, one way or another, make inventories of our lives. My plan in this case was to count up how many different things Perec ate in 1974, then I could calculate how many of those things I’d ever eaten in my entire life.


But arriving at a number for Perec is hard.  Some of the language, and of course I’m reading in translation, is strangely ambiguous.


For instance he states ‘eight pâtés’ but then he makes a list of pâtés – ‘one duck pâté, one pâté de foie with truffles, one pâté en croute, one pâté grand mere, six pâtés des Landes.  Now this adds up either to 5 or 10, possibly to a grand total of 18.  But if it’s 5, then are these included in the original eight?  And if that’s the case then what were the other two?  Why leave them unnamed?


It doesn’t get any simpler with sandwiches which he lists as ‘six sandwiches, one ham sandwich, one rillettes sandwich, three Cantal sandwiches.’  Again – you do the maths.  Is this 6 or 9, or possibly 11?  He is a literary tease.  And who knows if any of this inventory is actually true?


My own yearly inventory would include hundreds of sandwiches.  I have one for lunch pretty much every day because it’s easy.  Of course I miss one or two but there are sometimes breakfast sandwiches and even the occasional sandwich for dinner.  I don’t think Georges Perec would have envied me one bit.


This is the closest I’ve come to a picture of Perec ingurgitating:

Wednesday, July 6, 2022


 Look, I don’t know much about marketing or branding or indeed Belgium, but it seems to me that if I were trying to come up with a name for a premium strong Belgian beer I wouldn’t have chosen ‘OJ.’


Because either it makes you think of orange juice which is not very beer-positive, or it makes you think of OJ Simpson, the man acquitted of murder. Possibly it makes you think of both.

A little light research (i.e. my faithful reader Joel Turner tells me) OJ actually stands for Odo Joost 'one of the world's strongest men' but so far I haven't been able to find any reference to him that doesn't also related to the beer.  Further sleuthing may be required.