Wednesday, April 04, 2007

3 thoughts on Mayo

I had but two consolations to sustain me.

First, a Mayonnaise of chicken of my own making on the luncheon-table, which, as a work of Art, was simply adorable - I say no more. Secondly, my green silk dress, trimmed with my mother's famous lace - another work of Art, equally adorable with the first. Whether I looked at the luncheon-table, or whether I looked in the glass, I could feel that I worthily asserted my nation; I could say to myself, Even in this remote corner of the earth, the pilgrim of civilisation searching for the elegant luxuries of life, looks and sees - France supreme!


(Madame Pratolungo in Wilkie Collins, Poor Miss Finch, 189) Click to enlarge photo and see such a work of Art.

The sauce was invented as a new sensation for jaded palates at court by the duc de Richelieu, at first known as mahonnaise after Mahon, the chief port of Mincorca, the scene of the duc's dubious 'victory' in 1756 over the illfated Admiral Byng. Basically Louis's drug dealer and pimp, Richelieu, known for opium recipes to fit all occasions, is also credited with the introduction of into France of the cantharides, or Spanish fly. [...] What might this aphrodisiac have in common with the mayonnaise? That the beetles must be gathered and killed by exposing them to vinegar fumes suggests an emphasis on living or recently living creatures - the egg yolks perhaps regarded as a conscious entity - cooks will speak of whipping, beating, binding, penetration, submission, surrender. There is an undoubtedly Sadean aspect to the mayonnaise. No getting past that.

(Pleiade Lafrisee in Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, 545)

I also, recently, made James Beard's excellent crepe recipe - 3 eggs: 1 c milk: 1 scant c flour.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Raquel Laneri said...

This isn't about mayo. But I was wondering if you knew who NYer cultural editors were? And do they have a style editor?

1:56 AM  
Blogger -K- said...

This isn't about mayo either but has anyone else objected to the Sasha Frere-Jones article on Prince in the April 9 issue? The way I read it, its damn near a press release for his Vegas show.

12:18 AM  
Blogger zp said...

Hm.

Raquel's query clearly calls for some extensive research. That I have not done.

And she wouldn't be the one to agree with -k-. Recent post (and comments, mine) at her blog take Frere-Jones at face value. He enjoyed Prince. We enjoy his enjoying Prince.

But -k-'s take on the uncriticism of Sasha Frere-Jones is pretty widely echoed in discussions of Denby on Hollywood. Readers are getting suspicious. Generally.

I didn't quite buy the Timberlake thing a few weeks back, but Prince is a great performer is not a controversial claim. But then, I haven't been to Vegas.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Raquel Laneri said...

Actually that gawker post answered my question about a style editor.

About S F-J and Prince: We critics are allowed to like things too! Especially when we can write about them like S F-J can write about Prince.

1:36 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

This *is* about mayonaise.
Bless my soul!

7:43 AM  
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