Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tennyson's Pudding

Today is Alfred Tennyson's 200th Birthday. We thought it would be fun to honor him by posting an old recipe for a pudding that he supposedly enjoyed at a tavern in London called The Old Cheshire Cheese. The New York Times published an article about it in 1910, long before the days of the Travel or Food (now Dining) and Wine sections known to the readers of today. Today's readers might find some of the ingredients a little odd - how many of you have eaten anything lately made with sheep's kidneys and larks? - but the tone of the article itself has the familiar feeling of a travel piece reporting on the favorite haunt of celebrities abroad. Of course, in this case the celebrities ("well-known men" in the parlance of the time) include the likes of Tennyson, Dickens, and J. P. Morgan. Can it be that one must eat a lark to sing like a lark? In any event, here is a link to a PDF of the article: "World-Famous Pudding; Many Well-Known Men Have Enjoyed It." (March 20, 1910, Sunday Section: MAGAZINE SECTION, Page SM11, 1018 words.)

And here is something perhaps more savory: one of Tennyson's best known and loveliest poems.

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.

From guest blogger JAT

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