But the whole tribe of cooks are conceited and arrogant, as Hegesander says in his Brothers. For he introduces a cook, saying—
A. My friend, a great deal has been said alreadyNow, I beg you, tell me, in the name of all the gods at once, in what respect this man appears to you to differ from the Celedones in Pindar, who, in the same manner as the Sirens of old, caused those who listened to them to forget their food through delight, and so to waste away?
By many men on the art of cookery,
So either tell me something new yourself,
Unknown to former cooks, or spare my ears.
B. I'll not fatigue you; know that I alone
Of present men have sounded all the depths
Of culinary science and invention;
For I have not been just a short two years
Learning my art with snow-white apron girt,
But all my life I have devoted anxiously
To the investigation of each point
Of moment; I have inquired into all
The different kinds of herbs and vegetables;
I know the habits of the bembrades,
I know the lentils in their various sorts;
In short, this I can say—Whene'er I am
[p. 456] At a funereal feast as minister,
As soon as men come back from the funeral,
Clad in dark garments, I take off the lids
Of all my saucepans, and the weeping guests
I clothe with smiling faces in a moment;
And such a joy runs through each heart and frame
As if they were a marriage feast attending.
A. What! serving up lentils and bembrades?
B. These are some accidental dishes only;
But when I've got my necessary tools,
And once have properly arranged my kitchen,
That which in old time happen'd with the Sirens
You shall again behold repeated now.
For such shall be the savoury smell, that none
Shall bring themselves to pass this narrow passage;
And every one who passes by the door
Shall stand agape, fix'd to the spot, and mute,
Till some one of his friends, who's got a cold
And lost his smell, drags him away by force.
A. You're a great artist.
B. Do not you then know
To whom you speak? I do declare to you
I have known many of the guests, who have,
For my sake, eaten up their whole estates.