Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Coffee anyone?

After a couple of weeks off from Weekend Cooking, I am back with a quote pages 42 to 43 from Christine Blevins' The Tory Widow, mainly because it made me smile during my commute to work earlier this week.

Crisscrossing the room, Mrs. Merrick carried a tray and Sally handled the coffeepot. Together they visited each customer filling mugs and this day offering a selection of raisin scones and corn muffins. As usual, Jack's table was the last stop on their route.

"Good morning, Mr. Hampton!" The women greeted him unison and together dipped a silly, florid curtsy.

"Good morning, ladies," he answered, equally jovial.

"Coffee today, Mr. Hampton?" Sally asked with a grin.

"Please..." Jack offered up his mug, and as usual she poured him the dregs from the bottom of the pot -  a bitter  sludge of grounds mixed with eggshells - coffee so thick he could easily get his spoon to stand upright in it.

Widow Merrick tipped her tray, which was empty save for a lone raisin scone. "Can I tempt you today, Mr. Hampton?"

"Thank you, Mrs. Merrick - I think the scone."

"Good choice." Mrs. Merrick plucked up the scone and placed it on her plate. "Sally baked this one special for you."

Sally peered into his mug with some concern. "Och! The coffee seems a bit on the strong side this morning Shall I brang ye a lump of sugar and a wee bumper of cream, Mr. Hampton?"

"No need, Sally, this coffee is perfect." Jack pushed his spoon through the muck in his cup. No amount of cream would salvage this brew, and at any rate, as he knew from past experience, any cream brought to him would be curdled, and the lump of sugar would more than likely be a lump of salt.

"Well then" - Anne Merrick smiled - "enjoy!"

Jack was subjected once again to the ridiculous tandem curtsy before they left him to stand at the back of the shop, arms akimbo, watching his every move.

Jack eyed the scone on his plate. Sprinkled with a generous amount of brown sugar and baked to crusty golden perfection, it looked delicious. The regular customers always raved about the quality of the fare produced in the widow's kitchen. He broke the scone in two to expose a soft, crumbly interior, loaded with plump black beetle bugs. Jack pushed the tainted scone and coffee aside. Sally and Anne scampered back to the kitchenhouse, giggling.

Among the many dreadful things he'd been served since becoming a regular at the Liberty Coffeehouse were scones burnt to a charcoal crisp, muffins sprinkled with mouse droppings, cakes frosted with dung and puddings drenched in what smelled like horse piss. The clever women contrived to couple the friendliest, most charming service with the meanest, most rotten fare. The most insidious being the servings where the food seemed perfect and he could discern nothing amiss - steaming coffee, rich cream, sweet sugar, lovely baked goods. Suspecting the food might be laced or injected with some undetectable poison or emetic, Jack could do nothing other than pay for the wonderful fare left uneaten on his plate. Those were the days when the laughter coming from the kitchens was the loudest.
  
You have to wonder why Jack keeps on frequenting the Liberty Coffeehouse!

If you feel so inclined to share, let us know if you have ever found something untoward in a meal!

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs

28 comments:

  1. Oh yes. I can recall two events. I opened a carton of orange juice and found at the bottom one of those sponge clothes you wash dishes with. Secondly was out for a meal with some former colleagues a while ago, when one of them noticed a snail in the cauliflower cheese. Yuk!

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    1. Whilst the snail in cauliflower cheese sounds disgusting you can at least get how it got there, but a cloth in the orange juice....yuck!

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  2. Too funny -- I too wonder why he goes back. I have the book on my shelves but haven't read it. But despite the fact that the scone turns out to be inedible, I now kind of wish I had one to go with my morning coffee.

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    1. He goes back for pretty obvious reasons really! lol

      I agreed to review her next book and then realised I hadn't read this one! Whoops!

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    2. And yes, a lovely scone...without the bugs of course, does sound like a good way to start the day!

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  3. Made me smile! Makes me want to read more of the book!

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    1. This passage made me smile too, which is why I wanted to share it!

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  4. Funny! This sounds like a good read!

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    1. It was pretty good. Now I need to hurry up and read the follow up book.

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  5. I loved the passage you quoted. I can't imagine why he even goes into the shop. Very odd.

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    1. It's certainly not for the food! lol

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  6. oh my, I can't get that orange juice sponge out of my mind..eek

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  7. Hilarious passage! Ewwww, @Angler Rest that's pretty gross!
    Reminds me of the time the "pepper" was moving in my almost finished with Mongolian Beef plate ... live baby crickets ... zillions of them! Yuck!

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    1. Oh yuck! Live baby crickets sounds terrible.

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  8. Love this passage! I have not read this one yet but will certainly be adding it to the top of my list!

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  9. Very funny passage :) I love books about coffee & lovely baked goods, even if they look better than they taste ;)

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    1. Me too! Even just the selected passages from books!

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  10. Very humorous passage :) I love books that have passages about food in them :)

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    1. Me too! As soon as I see one I think can that be a Weekend Cooking post!

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  11. LOL I love the snippet and might just have to get this book! Once at a friends she was making us hot chocolate and I got a dead cock roach in my cup ugh!!!We lived in the south and it was inevitable. That's why I always turn my cups and glasses upside down in the cupboard:)

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    1. Ugh! For the longest time we didn't have many cockroaches where I live now, but every now and again I see one or two. There used to be lots more in the other places I have lived here.

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  12. wonderful selection. I have now added it to my 'to read' list. Thanks for the smile.

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  13. Ooh, now I want a raisin scone! Great snippet today!

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  14. Funny quote. Too bad about the scone and luckily it doesn't detract from everyone still wanting a scone!

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  15. Yum. Sounds delicious. :P

    I have found weird things once or twice. I think one time there was a nail clipping in one of those frozen dinners you get from the supermarket. Sooo gross.

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