...it's the 4th of July. The pate de campagne is finished, but much remains: Lambs to purchase, kegs to wrangle, so forth. In the meantime, happy 4th from Nero Wolfe:
Mr. Servan has invited me to speak on—as he stated the subject: Contributions Americaines a la Haute Cuisine.
“Bah!” Berin snorted. “There are none.”
Wolfe raised his brows. “None, sir?”
“None. I am told there is good family cooking in
America; I haven’t sampled it. I have heard of the New England boiled dinner and corn pone and clam chowder and milk gravy. This is for the multitude and certainly not to be scorned if good. But it is not for masters.” He snorted again. “Those things are to la haute cuisine what sentimental love songs are to Beethoven and Wagner.”
“Indeed.” Wolfe wiggled a finger at him. “Have you eaten terrapin stewed with butter and chicken broth and sherry?”
“Have you eaten a planked porterhouse steak, two inches thick, surrendering hot red juice under the knife, garnished with American parsley and slices of fresh limes, encompassed with mashed potatoes which melt on the tongue, and escorted by thick slices of fresh mushrooms faintly underdone?”
Or the Creole Tripe of
New Orleans? Or Missouri Boone County ham, baked with vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire, sweet cider and herbs? Or Chicken Marengo? Or chicken in curdled egg sauce, with raisins, onions, almonds, sherry and Mexican sausage? Or Tennessee Opossum? Or Lobster Newburgh? Or Philadelphia Snapper Soup?
I have eaten bouillabaisse at Marseillesits cradle and its temple, in my youth, when I was easier to move, and it is mere belly-fodder, ballast for a stevedore, compared with its namesake at
-Rex Stout, Too Many Cooks, 1938
Have a good weekend, wear sunscreen, and don’t hold those fireworks in your hand.