A vicious boomerang

A vicious boomerang – isn’t that a wonderful image, it vividly implies karma with knobs on, if that isn’t a too ridiculous idea! By the way, the phrase ‘with knobs on’ means  something has similar qualities to something else but more extreme:. Where did I come across this vicious boomerang? It is in a pocket sized book first published by Angostura Bitters in 1947, ‘Professional Mixing Guide’. It’s a marvellous little (tiny in fact) cocktail making book, and what I love about it isn’t it’s recipes,although they are very varied and interesting, it’s the beautiful way it’s written.

I really like cookery books, to read almost as much s, if not more than using them as recipe guides. Old ones, sometimes very old ones are written in such an intelligent and vivid way, sometimes admonishing the readers quite firmly in choice of ingredients or methods of cooking. Will we look back on modern books and think the same about the way they are written? I’m not sure. Look at this rather severe instruction in the foreword:

Famous chefs learned, long ago, that to attain perfection in their culinary art, a recipe must be followed exactly. A tablespoonful of flour means exactly a tablespoonful. A pinch of salt means a pinch of salt – no more, no less. To the uninitiated, a Manhattan is just another cocktail. But, for that cocktail to achieve the great distinction of the true Manhattan, accuracy must be the watchword. The same is true of mixed drinks. Anything short of of accuracy results in a mixture which may claim to be “just as good “, but is nothing more than a crude concoction.

Isn’t that well written, clear, concise, precise. Phrases like ‘to attain perfection’, ‘accuracy must be the watchword’, and nothing more than a crude concoction’ are brief but perfectly sum up what is meant.

The second paragraph continues with the vicious boomerang:

That phrase “just as good as” is such a vicious boomerang; it is absurd for anyone to consider it. The customer is not fooled. He knows there is no substitute for quality. He knows, too, that a quality label guarantees skill in the manufacture of the product, assuring uniform, dependable quality. This modest little book (the ‘Professional Mixing Guide’) does not claim to be a complete compilation of all the mixed drinks evolved in recent years. It is simply meat to be a memory-jogger for the professional barman; a quick succinct source of practical and authentic information. It’s aim is to establish a mutual confidence and fine regard between “him who serves” and “him who sips.”

I  think the trend with making food and drinks is sometimes rather random, ‘a handful of something’ whatever that is, ‘add to taste’, a sprinkle, a dash, ‘chuck in some…’ Thinking about it, I might go to a particular place because I like their way of cooking or making something, as opposed to another place that does it differently. I go there because that’s what I like – if I suddenly find that each tie I visit its different, I wouldn’t be very impressed! I’m not suggesting every sausage should taste the same as every other, or every salad, or every pint of beer, but if Powters of Newmarket is my favourite sausage, I want it to taste the same each time I eat it, ditto Caesar Salad from Pizza Express, or a pint of Otter from the pub!

A vicious boomerang, I like that!

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