Monday, October 02, 2006

Fish, Mrs Beeton, Malthus and the population problem

'You're not taking a picture of that!' said Hodmandod Senior. 'Is there any aspect of our lives that you consider would not make good blogging material?'

There then followed various suggestions from the Hodmandods Major and Minor of things I had missed - the inside of our toilet and the bins at the side of the house for instance - and much merriment was had by all - well, by all of the male Hodmandods anyway. I frequently find that my contribution to posterity through this blog is little understood and appreciated.

Anyway, here, as promised, are the pictures - the before and after. It tasted quite good in my opinion albeit a bit strong but Hodmandod Minor looked as if he were being poisoned while he picked his way through each mouthful.

I came across Mrs Beeton on the internet today - the poor woman died at the age of just 28 - a week after the birth of her fourth child. She seems to have packed a lot in to her short life. Her book of 'Household Management Comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc. – also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort' was 1112 pages long with over 900 pages devoted to recipes and so is often known as Mrs Beeton's Cook Book. She was the editor rather than the author since, according to this Wikipedia article, many of the passages were clearly not written in her voice. However she introduced a format that is still in use today.

Now how did I get onto that? Ah yes - from deaths of women in childbirth to the life and work of Thomas Malthus from Malthus to the the announcement in Science Reuters that this month there will be more than 300 million people in the USA - and like all the rest of us in the 'developed' world will be using far more than their share of fuel, land, water

Back to food again. Sometimes everything seems to be connected.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you done good girl! There's a balance to be had here: arranging the food artistically on a plate and running the risk it will be at best tepid on service, vs not so artistically and still nice and warm! (I reckon Gary Rhodes's contributions may see a microwave before they hit the table! I said "may"; I guess; don't sue me please.)
Hodmandods M&M (the M&Ms?)are really cool and a great laugh! You must be proud Clare! Dinner at the Dudmans sounds like a really good time!

Mon Oct 02, 09:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having produced a household of males, I've often wondered WHAT exactly IS the best way to cope with this type of testosterone banter which does seem to appear mainly at meal times...should the lone female look pained or smile feebly or join in raucously ( which Im afraid I often did, much to my cost...) OR should she sit smiling enigmatically into her spagbol, saying absolutely nowt??? What do you think??

Mon Oct 02, 09:23:00 pm  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

'...the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.

The sad thing is that I am all of these! Particularly the etc. etc.

Mon Oct 02, 10:49:00 pm  
Blogger Kirsty said...

I love a bit of food blogging, in fact I do it semi-regularly in a series entitled 'Gastropod', which seems strangely appropriate for your blog too. Tell the M&Ms that in blog terms you were relatively restrained in only providing a before and after shot; I have been known to take pictures of every stage of the preparation. Not that I've posted all of them.

The fish really did look great.

Tue Oct 03, 01:17:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have male humour "down to a T", Clare. What hope for the human race, etc. But one thing I do admire (quite apart from the fact of you cooking that "thing" in the first place) is that HMinor actually ate it. In our house there would be no point -- Cathy is vegetarian and Jenny would not touch anything fancy or anything with fish in it unless it is a fish finger or (a recent attempt by her mother to "do the right thing") a Waitrose 100 per cent cod "ball" with light batter.

Mind you, our house is the opposite in gender distribution to yours, and I often feel sorry for Malcolm who is in the minority of 1.

Onto Mrs Beeton, I read the reviews of a recent biography of her, and was very struck by her young age at death, and her impressive socially conscious output. I grew up with Mrs Beeton's book for all our cooking -- my mother perpetually turned to the famous jugged hare recipe, which starts out "First catch your hare".

Tue Oct 03, 10:02:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never realised Mrs Beeton died so young. For some reason I've always had a vision of a rather round lady with grey hair tied in a bun. How wrong can you be?

At least your son tried the fish dish. Two of my three children would have refused to even to sit at the table if I'd served anything even remotely similar. One will accept fish fingers and battered cod but the other won't entertain anything fish related. And this is a family who could be found sea fishing during most summer weekends!

Tue Oct 03, 03:17:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CFR: M&Ms - I think this might be thir new names. Thanks very much.

Jan: I think one should never rule out violence.

Marly: Yes etc is what I excel in too.

Galaxy: I am going to add you to my bloglines forthwith - meaning to do that before but has somehow slipped through my net. I shall be emailing you soon.

Maxine: Glad to hear there's been a biography - just reading through that short piece on her life made me want to find out more. She looked quite a handsome woman.

BTW My post should have said 'every mouthful that he ate' - there was a lot of wastage, I have to say and I think those fish ball things would go down much better - and much more quickly. I felt so virtuous cooking everything from scratch - but at least I didn't hae to 'first catch my fish'.

Which brings me onto Sharon J's family holidays - yes I imagined an old woman too - grey bun is just what I had in mind.

Tue Oct 03, 11:52:00 pm  
Blogger Tammy Brierly said...

You did great! I loved the before too :) MALES!

Wed Oct 04, 10:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Tammy!

Sat Oct 07, 12:24:00 am  

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