Sunday, June 16, 2013

A French teenager of the 18th century encounters English food for the first time

From These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer:

Breakfast with Ham by Pieter Claesz (c. 1597–1660)

Léon eyed the meal with some disapproval and not a little surprise. A sirloin of English beef stood at one end of the table, flanked by a ham and some capons. A fat duck was at the other end, with pasties and puddings. There was also a flagon of burgundy, and a jug of foaming ale.
“Well, my Léon?”
Léon turned. His Grace had entered the room, and stood behind him, fanning himself. Léon looked sternly at the fan, and seeing the condemnation in his eyes Avon smiled.
“The fan does not find favour with you, infant?”
“I do not like it at all, Monseigneur.”
“You distress me. What think you of our English meats?”
Léon shook his head.
“Terrible, Monseigneur. It is—it is barbare!”

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