Some Quantock Items

Sydney Smith

A wit, a Whig, an essayist, a sermoniser and vicar of Combe Florey from 1829 to 1845. These things are well known about Sydney Smith. Less well known is that according to his biographer Alan Bell:

Sydney Smith

Throughout his life, Sydney reckoned himself an authority on salads. Like many gastronomists of consummate fastidiousness but little practical ability, he was prepared to lay down the law on various articles of diet: Sydney had the advantage of being able to pontificate in verse. His classic statement on the concoction of a winter salad, no doubt the fruit of prolonged meditation and research, was so popular that by the late 1830s he had to have copies printed to satisfy the many enquirers.

And here is the famous verse recipe for salad dressing with which he qualifies as a Quantock Poet

To make this condiment your poet begs
The pounded yellow of two hard-boiled eggs;
Two boiled potatoes, passed through kitchen sieve,
Smoothness and softness to the salad give.
Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl,
And, half-suspected, animate the whole.
Of mordant mustard add a single spoon,
Distrust the condiment that bites so soon;
But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault
To add a double quantity of salt;
Four times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown,
And twice with vinegar procured from town;
And lastly o'er the flavoured compound toss
A magic soup├žon of anchovy sauce.
Oh, green and glorious! Oh, herbaceous treat!
'Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat;
Back to the world he'd turn his fleeting soul,
And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl!
Serenely full, the epicure would say,
'Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today'.
Last Updated on  March 4th, 2016