But the race of cooks are really very curious for the most part about the histories and names of things. Accordingly the most learned of them say, “The knee is nearer than [p. 603] the leg,” —and, “I have travelled over Asia and Europe:” and when they are finding fault with any one they say, “It is impossible to make a Peleus out of an Œneus.” —and I once marvelled at one of the old cooks, after I had enjoyed his skill and the specimens of his art which he had invented. And Alexis, in his Caldron, introduces one speaking in he following manner—
A. He boil'd, it seem'd to me, some pork, from off
A pig who died by suffocation.
B. That's nice.
A. And then he scorch'd it at the fire.
B. Never mind that; that can be remedied.
A. How so?
B. Take some cold vinegar, and pour it
Into a plate. Dost heed me Then take up
The dish while hot and put it in the vinegar;
For while 'tis hot 'twill draw the moisture up
Through its material, which is porous all;
And so fermenting, like a pumice-stone,
'Twill open all its spongy passages,
Through which it will imbibe new moisture thoroughly.
And so the meat will cease to seem dried up,
But will be moist and succulent again.
A. O Phœbus, what a great physician's here!
O Glaucias!—I will do all you tell me.
B. And serve them, when you do serve them up,
(Dost mark me?) cold; for so no smell too strong
Will strike the nostrils; but rise high above them.
A. It seems to me you're fitter to write books
Than to cook dinners; since you quibble much
In all your speeches, jesting on your art.