Today I’m going to do something with pimentos, Ainsley

August 1, 2009

The details you find in journals and memoirs are often things that are lost to less digressive forms of recorded history.

Take this wartime meal described by Denton Welch in his journal entry for Monday, 7th June, 1943 –

Last Monday I went to supper with Noel Adeney. We had cold soup flavoured with claret, and fennel in long green shreds; then a sort of pilau of rice, onions fried, pimento excitingly scarlet like dogs’ tools, and grated cheese. The tiniest new potatoes and salad. Afterwards plums, and creamy mild tomato cocktail to drink.

Sounds delicious doesn’t it? Easy on the dogs’ tools tho.

A bit later, he goes into a pub with his friend Eric who has gin with half a pint of stock. Impressive, huh? Don’t see that very often. One to ask superior cocktail waiters for.

Wouldn’t like to see you all going hungry though, so here’s what today’s top chefs have to offer.

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‘Allo boys, I’ve been away, I’ve ‘ad a bit of a ‘oliday

August 1, 2009

The pen grows rusty in the grip, the ink runs dry and the page remains blank with unexpressed thoughts. As a consequence the inexpressible becomes unattainable.

As a further consequence the starting again becomes doubly hard. Nothing flows, all is clogged up and once, after a period of scrabbling, a start is achieved, the pen slides meaninglessly across the page.

Nothing seems worth talking about, writing a mere exercise in style. Experiments that might justify such an exercise seem egregious, and to obscure the matter in hand. Attempts at elegance come across as both callow and conservative, at worst pompous – like a child pretending to be an adult. Plain speaking seems uninteresting, and dangerously revealing of a moribund and fruitless intellect.

Clearly, a subject is needed.

Jocelyn Brooke is worth writing about for many reasons, but has hardly been written about at all. The ground is still fresh and I can tell myself that what I am writing is not an exercise in redundant self-gratification. We can pretend. It is, after all, a start.

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