Saturday 12 January 2019

Quotations about food and drink

"Hunger is the best sauce." Spartan proverb

"“There is no love sincerer than the love of food." George Bernard Shaw

"You can eat better in England than in any country in the world providing that you have breakfast three times a day." W. Somerset Maugham

"It has been a common saying of physicians in England, that a cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing."
Dr. Johnson, quoted in Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.” Oscar Wilde

"A banquet is probably the most fatiguing thing in the world except ditch digging. It is the insanest of all recreations. The inventor of it overlooked no detail that could furnish weariness, distress, harassment, and acute and long-sustained misery of mind and body." Mark Twain

“You are what what you eat eats.” Michael Pollan

"A common murderer, possibly, but a very uncommon cook." H.H. Munro (Saki)

"She was a good cook, as cooks go and as cooks go she went." H.H. Munro (Saki)

"Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl
And undetected animate the whole."
Sydney Smith

"...Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments. The original reason for a Thanksgiving Day has long ago ceased to exist — the Indians having long ago been comprehensively and satisfactorily exterminated and the account closed with the Lord, with the thanks due." Mark Twain

"A cup of coffee - real coffee - home-browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all." Henry Ward Beecher

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.” Calvin Trillin

"A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye." Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

"A food is not necessarily essential just because your child hates it." Katherine Whitehorn

"A good eater must be a good man; for a good eater must have a good digestion, and a good digestion depends upon a good conscience." Benjamin Disraeli

"A man is in general better pleased when has had a good dinner upon the table than when his wife talks Greek." Dr. Johnson

"A man's own dinner is to himself so important that he cannot bring himself to believe that it is a matter utterly indifferent to anyone else." Anthony Trollope

"A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner; and if he cannot get that well dressed, he should be suspected of inaccuracy in other things." Dr. Johnson

"All cooks, like all great artists, must have an audience worth cooking for." Andre Simon 

"All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast." John Gunther

"Dr Johnson defined a sauce as something which is eaten with food, in order to improve its flavor. It would be difficult to believe that a man of the intelligence and culture of Dr. Johnson....had expressed himself in these terms, if we did not know that Dr. Johnson was English. Even today his compatriots, incapable of giving any flavor to their food, call on sauces to furnish to their dishes that which their dishes do not have. This explains the sauces, the jellies and prepared extracts, the bottled sauces, the chutneys, the ketchups which populate the tables of this unfortunate people."
Alberto Denti di Piranjo, ‘Educated Gastronome’ (1950)

“All in all, I think the British actually hate food, otherwise they couldn't possibly abuse it so badly. Americans, on the other hand, love food but seldom care what it tastes like.” Bill Marsano

“Every country possesses, it seems, the sort of cuisine it deserves, which is to say the sort of cuisine it is appreciative enough to want. I used to think that the notoriously bad cooking of the English was an example to the contrary, and that the English cook the way they do because, through sheer technical deficiency, they had not been able to master the art of cooking. I have discovered to my stupefaction that the English cook that way because that is the way they like it." Waverly Root

"I would rather live in Russia on black bread and vodka than in the United States at the best hotels. America knows nothing of food, love or art."
Isadora Duncan

"All knives and forks were working away at a rate that was quite alarming; very few words were spoken; and everybody seemed to eat his utmost, in self defence, as if a famine were expected to set in before breakfast-time to-morrow morning, and it had become high time to assert the first law of nature." Charles Dickens (on American meals in Martin Chuzzlewit)

"A small amount of wine such as three or four glasses is of benefit for the preservation of the health of human beings and an excellent remedy for most illnesses." Moses Maimonides

I recall that in 1990 a French professor of cardiology said that drinking 'a small amount' of red wine each day was beneficial for the heart. When he was asked what he meant by a small amount he said, 'Oh, no more than a bottle or so.'


Whereas it is most apparent that the multitude of Coffee Houses of late years set up and kept within this Kingdom...and the great resort of idle and disaffected persons to them, have produced very evil and dangerous effects; as well for that many tradesmen and others, do herein misspend much of their time, which might and probably would be employed in and about their Lawful Calling and Affairs; but also for that in such houses...divers, false, malitious, and scandalous reports are devised and spread abroad to the Defamation of His Majesty's Government, and to the disturbance of the Peace and Quiet of the Realm; his Majesty hath though it fit and necessary, that the said Coffee Houses be (for the Future) put down and suppressed..."  

I found this ascribed to King Charles II of England but do not think he wrote it. I was reminded of the Earl of Rochester's impromptu epitaph on King Charles II:

Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King 

Whose word no man relies on,

He never said a foolish thing,

And never did a wise one.

To which Charles, who did not take offence or banish Rochester, replied, 

My words are my own, but my actions are those of my ministers.

1 comment:

  1. An onion can make people cry,but there has never been a vegetable that can make people laugh
    Will Rogers