Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jerome K.Jerome on eating duck


"If you wish to thoroughly enjoy your dinner, take a thirty-mile country walk after breakfast, and don't touch anything till you get back. How your eyes will glisten at sight of the white tablecloth and steaming dishes then! With what a sigh of content you will put down the empty beer tankard, and take up your knife and fork! And how comfortable you feel afterwards, as you push back your chair, light a cigar, and beam round upon everybody.

Make sure, however, when adopting this plan, that the good dinner is really to be had at the end, or the disappointment is trying. I remember once a friend and I...were on a holiday together, and one morning we had breakfast early, and started for a tremendous long walk. We had ordered a duck for dinner over night. We said, "Get a big one, because we shall come home awfully hungry:" and, as we were going out, our landlady came up in great spirits. She said, "I have got you gentlemen a duck, if you like. If you get through that, you'll do well;" and she held up a bird about the size of a door-mat...
We had tramped over fields. We had waded through brooks, and scrambled over hedges and walls. We had had a row as to whose fault it was that we had first lost our way. We had got thoroughly disagreeable, footsore, and weary. But, throughout it all, the hope of that duck kept us up...

We felt a strong temptation, at one point, to turn into a village inn we passed, and have a cheese and a few loaves between us; but we heroically restrained ourselves: we should enjoy the duck all the better for being famished. We fancied we smelt it when we got into the town and did the last quarter of a mile in three minutes. We rushed upstairs, and washed ourselves, and changed our clothes, and came down, and pulled our chairs up to the table, and sat and rubbed our hands while the landlady removed the covers, when I seized the knife and fork and started to carve.
It seemed to want a lot of carving. I struggled with it for about five minutes without making the slightest impression, and then Joe, who had been eating potatoes, wanted to know if it wouldn't be better for someone to do the job that understood carving. I took no notice of his foolish remark, but attacked the bird again; and so vigorously this time, that the animal left the dish, and took refuge in the fender.

We soon had it out of that though, and I was prepared to make another effort. But Joe was getting unpleasant. He said that if he had thought we were to have a game of blind hockey with the dinner, we would have got a bit of bread and cheese outside.
I was too exhausted to argue. I laid down the knife and fork with dignity, and took a side seat; and Joe went for the wretched creature. He worked away, in silence for a while, and then he muttered, "Damn the duck," and took his coat off. We did break the thing up at length, with the aid of a chisel; but it was perfectly impossible to eat it, and we had to make a dinner off the vegetables and an apple tart. "

4 Comments:

Blogger Mopsa said...

Ah... that'll be a seriously old bird then. Tender and luscious at 20-25 weeks, stringy as an old dishrag at 52.

12:31 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

LOL Mopsa

7:44 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Any excuse for a walk...

11:35 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Wonderful.

11:34 pm  

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