Well, Father Zed, a wise and accomplished man, often sets before you mouth-watering magirology: so surely you won't complain if I offer an occasional gastronomic diversion? Even if it does involve whisking you back to the Thirties?
In his 1936 masterpiece Death at the President's Lodging, 'Michael Innes' [J I M Stewart] tempts our imaginative juices by describing what a college Kitchen could do in the magical Thirties (no pedantry here, please ... don't bother to explain to me that not everything was magical in the 1930s). A college Dean might offer in his rooms such a private luncheon as this: "Double fillet of sole, becasse Careme, and poires flambees -- and there was a remarkable [College] hock. College cooks can produce such luncheons and undergraduates -- and even dons -- give them ..."
Happy days, when places of learning could afford to inculcate more than just a skill in writing Sapphic stanzas or in Latin Prose Compo! "Honour Mods in Careme" would indeed be a much more civilised, and useful, area of learning than [fill this bit in yourselves, preferably including PPE]. One of 'Innes'' dons explains to an undergraduate "You are enjoying a highly evolved system of individual education the stamp of which you will carry to the grave. To that grave you will also carry a nervous tone which is the product of careful physical nurture: of knowledge of the use and abuse of wine, of cookery to subsidize which miners toil in Wales and Kalgoorlie ..." (is there really a place called Kalgoorlie? In Co Donegal, perhaps? Corruption of a Celtic 'Kilgoorlie'?).
But where I most want to seek your help is with this description of:
" ... a most Chestertonian inn. Here one may lunch, here one may dine well: there is bortsch not inferior to that once known at Gurin's, and a simple schnitzel that would have won the commendations of the eminent Sacher himself. There is good straight claret; there is genuine Tokay; there is a curious Dalmatian liqueur [Maraschino, perhaps?]. The garden is erudite [sic], remarkable in summer and winter alike. If you are lucky, you will find no similarly knowing colleague there; only an alien and abstracted savant from the academic deserts of Birmingham or Hull, come to meditate in solitude the remoter implications of the quartic curve, or a London novelist of the quieter and more prosperous sort, giving a lazy week to the ruinous correction of page-proofs. Only one disturbing presence there may be: that of undergraduates -- for undergraduates too, with a sad inevitability, have discovered this earthly paradise. But even undergraduates become more urbane, less restless, in the milieu of the Three Doves."
I offer an instant apology to a good and civilised friend who is a learned and much published scientist at Birmingham ...
Things I ask ...
(1) Gurin's ... I presume, a ***** Moscow, or Eastern European, eatery ... did such things survive into the Stalinist Thirties?
(2) Are there any friends of 'the eminent Sacher' in today's readership? ... I presume we are here in interbellum Vienna?
(3) Is this description of "The Three Doves" based on a real restaurant near Oxford? Or is it an Ovidian adunaton, or perhaps a Platonic idea?
(4) Pam and I used to drink Hock in the 1960s; we used to drink it out of special high glasses. Does anybody drink Hock nowadays? Would a sommelier even recognise the word? ('Bar staff' in modern pubs have no idea what 'stout porter' is).
(5) Any other apposite explanations you care to give ... except for the Quartic Curve, which sounds kinky.
6 September 2020
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I happen to know the parish priest of Kalgoorlie (a good-humoured and worthy cleric), which, had Western Australia refused to federate with the other Australian colonies, could have been made the capital of Auralia, a proposed goldfields colony that would have been separated from WA and united to the nascent Commonwealth; no doubt Kalgoorlie would have been made an archiepiscopal see. Apparently the name means "place of the silky pears" – would this be latinizable as Sericopiropolis, or less macaronically as Serikapiopolis? The silky pear (Marsdenia australis) is also known as the bush banana; I feel it would be somewhat odd to attempt to render "Bush Banana City" in the Roman tongue.
the "Caffe Sacher' is one of the best coffehouses or 'Kaffehaeuser' in Wien/Vienna, a town renowned for it's gorgeous caffee's amongst many other entirely civilized things, from whence springs the lovely chocolate heaven called the 'Sacher Torte' / cake.
Kalgoorlie gold mine in Australia. I assume this was an unexpected knowledge gap rather than irony
Franz Sacher, 1816-1907. Vienna. Primarily a confectioner pattissiere.
Tesco's has a hock. Probably a bit on the sweet side for modern people.
Gurin’s was a famous pre-Revolutionary traktir in Moscow.
The Three Horseshoes Inn in Garsington was very good 20 years ago, but what it is like now or what it was like in the 1930s I would not pretend to know.
The study of quartic curves has a respectable pedigree traceable at least to the Kampyle of Eudoxus. Eudoxus of Cnidus was a student of Plato's. Whether Κνίδος should be compared to Hull I cannot say.
My own lament is for Barleywine, particularly Young's Old Nick with it's warning depiction of His Satanic Majesty. These days 'bar staff' are more knowledgeable about sweet soft drinks at inordinate prices.
What I've found, hopefully of some help is:
Gurin - one of the most famous Moscow "traktir " - more like taverns than restaurants.
"Gurin's and Egorov's, the best in the long line of great Moscow traktiry, fed the city gourmands between 1850 and 1890. Gurin's was renowned for, along with its food, the largest organ in Moscow, and people flocked there to listen to the music." [https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=russian-studies;eae26afd.02 ]
Sacher - Franz Sacher (b. 1816) was a confectioner, not a chef, and would not have had any professional truck with the Wiener Schnitzel (which was not actually introduced to Vienna from Milan until 1862). Sacher's masterpiece was the Sachertorte, a wickedly rich chocolate-and-jam cake that Fitzbillies in Cambridge used to sell, and jolly delicious it was.
The Quartic algebraic curve is easily googled, and the Three Doves is surely an easy novelist's invention - there were droves of such places. But what is this 'Oxford' of which you occasionally speak, Father? I have always assumed it too must belong to the realms of of fiction.
By the way, it may be part of the novelist's in-joke that while Sacher was Metternich's chef, Carême was Talleyrand's, then Prince Regent George's head cook. Famed for his 'grande cuisine', his sauces and his architecturally modelled 'pièces montées'. I'd love to know what Carême would have done to the humble woodock.
May I suggest a textual emendation to 'Sacher herself'. K.u.k. Hoflieferantin Anna Sacher (1859-1930), the daughter-in-law of Franz Sacher, took over the management of the Hotel Sacher after the early death of her husband Eduard and established its reputation for gastronomy, regularly winning prizes at culinary art exhibitions. She was one of the founders of the Culinary School for Restaurant Owners in Vienna and served as President of the school board. Some ten thousand people turned out for her funeral procession to the Augustinerkirche.
Eduard Sacher was a confectioner, but also a Hotel owner. The Hotel Sacher in Vienna's Kärntner Strasse is world famous not only for its Sachertorte, but in general for it fine cuisine.
I would wager that the Dalmatian liqueur might well have been plum brandy or slivovitz.
James Athol Steel said...
Tesco's has a hock. Probably a bit on the sweet side for modern people.
Presumably the seltzer it is traditionally mixed with counteracts the sweetness?
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