A Victorian Meal, from Sherlock’s Scandal by Suz deMello
I bid you welcome my colleague, Suz deMello, who’s bringing us a real treat (pun intended). Welcome, Suz!
A Victorian Meal, by Suz deMello
In Sherlock’s Scandal, Sherlock and Irene dine on roulades of salmon on braised greens, followed by a syllabub, and drank champagne. Did I imagine a realistic meal?
The champagne, certainly. Wine has been made in the Champagne region of France since the country was known as Gaul—i.e., since the Roman era. However, the development of the bubbly drink we now prize came rather later. The monk Dom Perignon, whose name still adorns bottles of the finest champagne, lived from 1638-1715. But according to Wikipedia, his main focus was ridding the wine of the bubbles, which are the natural result of the fermentation process. The drink we know today was developed in the nineteenth century by the house of Veuve Cliquot, which was joined by Krug (1843), Pommery (1858) and Bollinger (1829).
The fish, also. The Billingsgate market alone sold 136,000 tons of fish annually including salmon. The salmon would likely have come from “the firths and bays of Scotland,” that country having been long famed for its fine salmon. The greens upon which the roulades were served may have come from Covent Garden, “the great vegetable market of the metropolis.”
The dessert, syllabub, had been known in England at least from the sixteenth century. It’s a pudding of various consistencies—I’ve seen it thick enough to eat with a spoon, or a thinner concoction poured over fruit or cake.
If they had enough money, the average Londoner ate well even though food inspections were intermittent. However, some of the grub they fancied are somewhat foreign to our palates.
A few examples: Bloaters, a street food, was a cold, smoked herring that was eaten whole, gills and eyes included. Calves’ foot jelly—a dish my British mother made until we all rose up in protest—was also popular. Some of the tastier dishes available on the street include meat pies—pasties, which you might want to wash down with ginger beer, a perennial favorite that’s still available.
Here’s a little about Sherlock’s Scandal:
A bored Sherlock is a dangerous Sherlock. His twin vices of cocaine and sex could prove his undoing, until he meets his match in elusive, enigmatic Irene Adler. Hiding her heart, Irene deserts Sherlock in the midst of their affair. He schemes to win her back, but the lady won’t come easily to hand. Instead, she forces him to compete for honor, glory and love.
Find it here:
Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/sherlock-s-scandal.html
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.
Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.
A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.
Find Suzie’s books here:
http://www.tinyurl.com/SuzDeMello (publisher’s site)