When I use the word simplicity, I allude, of course, to everyday cooking. Dishes of luxury in any school require elaboration, care, and watchfulness."
Menu -- Dinner*
Zuppa d'uova alla Toscana. Tuscan egg-soup. Sogliole alla Livornese. Sole alla Livornese. Manzo alla Certosina. Fillet of beef, Certosina sauce. Minuta alla Milanese. Chickens' livers alla Milanese. Cavoli fiodi ripieni. Cauliflower with forcemeat. Cappone arrosto con insalata. Roast capon with salad. Zabajone. Spiced custard. Uova al pomidoro. Eggs and tomatoes.
*The recipes for the dishes contained in all these menus will be found in the second part of the book. The limits of the seasons have necessarily been ignored.
The Second Day
Wednesday's luncheon was anticipated with some curiosity, or even searchings of heart, as in it would appear the first-fruits of the hand of the amateur. The Marchesa wisely restricted it to two dishes, for the compounding of which she requisitioned the services of Lady Considine, Mrs. Sinclair, and the Colonel. The others she sent to watch Angelina and her circle while they were preparing the vegetables and the dinner entrees. After the luncheon dishes had been discussed, they were both proclaimed admirable. It was a true bit of Italian finesse on the part of the Marchesa to lay a share of the responsibility of the first meal upon the Colonel, who was notoriously the most captious and the hardest to please of all the company; and she did even more than make him jointly responsible, for she authorised him to see to the production of a special curry of his own invention, the recipe for which he always carried in his pocket-book, thus letting India share with Italy in the honours of the first luncheon.
"My congratulations to you on your curry, Colonel Trestrail," said Miss Macdonnell. "You haven't followed the English fashion of flavouring a curry by emptying the pepper-pot into the dish?"
"Pepper properly used is the most admirable of condiments," the Colonel said.
"Why this association of the Colonel and pepper?" said Van der Roet. "In this society we ought to be as nice in our phraseology as in our flavourings, and be careful to eschew the incongruous. You are coughing, Mrs. Wilding. Let me give you some water."
"I think it must have been one of those rare grains of the Colonel's pepper, for you must have a little pepper in a curry, mustn't you, Colonel? Though, as Miss Macdonnell says, English cooks generally overdo it."
"Vander is in one of his pleasant witty moods," said the Colonel, "but I fancy I know as much about the use of pepper as he does about the use of oil colours; and now we have, got upon art criticism, I may remark, my dear Vander, I have been reminded that you have been poaching on my ground. I saw a landscape of yours the other day, which looked as if some of my curry powder had got into the sunset. I mean the one poor blind old Wilkins bought at your last show."
"Ah, but that sunset was an inspiration, Colonel, and consequently beyond your comprehension."
"It is easy to talk of inspiration," said Sir John, "and, perhaps, now that we are debating a matter of real importance, we might spend our time more profitably than in discussing what is and what is not a good picture. Some inspiration has been brought into our symposium, I venture to affirm that the brain which devised and the hand which executed the Tenerumi di Vitello we have just tasted, were both of them inspired. In the construction of this dish there is to be recognised a breath of the same afflatus which gave us the Florentine campanile, and the Medici tombs, and the portrait of Monna Lisa. When we stand before any one of these masterpieces, we realise at a glance how keen must have been the primal insight, and how strenuous the effort necessary for the evolution of so consummate an achievement; and, with the savour of the Tenerumi di Vitello still fresh, I feel that it deserves to be added to the list of Italian capo lavori.