Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 401

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Page 401

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription DREAMS OF DINNER. 401
kitchen. The ` good digestion ' which should 'wait on appetite ' must be impossible where the clef de cuisine falls short of the
philosopher as well as the man of science. Now, of all that
philosophy, which prepares the food with a due regard, not only
to the meats and vegetables themselves, the graces and the
gravies, but to the temperaments of the consumers, we are sorry
to confess that we have but little in our vast interior. Our
mountain cooks think they have done everything when they
have murdered a fillet of veal or a haunch of venison, sodden
them in lard or butter, baked or boiled them to a condition
which admirably resembles the pulpy masses of cotton rag, when
macerated for paper manufacture, and wonders to see you
mince gingerly of a dish which he himself will devour with the
savage appetite of a Cumanche ! You have seen a royal side
of venison brought in during the morning, and laid out upon the
tavern shambles ; �you have set your heart upon the dinner of
that day. Fancy reminds you of the relish with which, at the
St. Charles, in New-Orleans, or the Pulaski, in Savannah, or the
Charleston Hotel, you have discussed the exquisitely dressed
loin, or haunch, done to a turn ; the red just tinging the gravy,
the meat just offering such pleasant resistance to the knife as
leaves the intricate fibres still closely united, though shedding
their juices with the eagerness of the peach, pressed between
the lips in the very hour of its maturity ,�or you see a fine
mutton' brought in, of the wild flavor of the hills ; and you
examine, with the eye of the epicure, the voluminous fat, fold
upon fold, lapping itself lovingly about the loins. Leg, or loin,
or saddle, or shoulder, suggests itself to your anticipation as the
probable subject of noonday discussion. You lay yourself out
for the argument, and naturally recur to the last famous dinner
which you enjoyed with the reverend father, who presides so
equally well at the Church of the St. Savori, and at his own ex-
cellent hotel in the Rue des Huitres. You remember all the
company, admirable judges, every one of them, of the virtues
and the graces of a proper feast. The reverend father, himself,
belongs to that excellent school of which the English clergy
still show you so many grateful living examples,�men whose
sensibilities are not yielded to the barren empire of mind merely,
but who bring thought and philosophy equally to bear upon the