Tomorrow, the kids start back to school. Christmas Break is over. One kid thinks it went too fast; another thinks it went way too slow. And one doesn’t really care, ’cause she’s a senior.
Now that all three are out of elementary school, they have a later start time. I was really looking forward to that. I had great plans for our “easy morning” before the buses came. Instead of dragging sleepy kids out of bed at 6 o’something and putting them on the bus in the dark for months, I envisioned getting up at a decent hour, making them a lovely breakfast, and everything basically looking like this:
Of course, no one wants to get up, even at the new and improved time, and two of them have inherited their father’s aversion to food in the morning. Unless it’s doughnuts. So much for dreams….
Mrs. Hudson didn’t have that problem. Mrs. Hudson’s lodgers evidently adored the breakfasts she brought up to them. We find Holmes and Watson at breakfast quite a few times in the Canon, and they are never grouchy, picky (except that time Holmes griped about his eggs), or leave most of it sitting there because THERE’S THE BUS!!!!!!!!! Unlike the “full English” we often hear about, breakfast at 221B seems to have been a relatively simple affair. Eggs are mentioned most, followed by toast. They are accompanied by rashers of bacon once, and by ham twice–one occasion of which includes curried fowl. They are scrambled at least once, and soft-boiled (requiring an eggs-spoon) another time. Then there was the morning I alluded to above, in which Holmes deduced that their new cook had been distracted by the latest issue of the Family Herald, and thus kept them in the water overlong, making the hard-boiled instead.
Mrs. Beeton’s 1891 edition contains 21 egg recipes, as well as advice on choosing eggs, handling them, and their nutritional value. There are egg balls, egg sauce, Alpine eggs (eggs baked over cheese), egg wine (egg with sherry, sugar and nutmeg, heated (never boiled) and stirred until thick; scotch eggs, savoury eggs (featuring anchovies and cayenne pepper), the fancy-sounding “eggs à la maître d’hotel” and “eggs au miroir,” and the not-so-fancy sounding “eggs à la tripe”–which, I was relieved to learn, does not actually contain tripe, but is something with hardboiled eggs, béchamel sauce, and croutons.
Mrs. Hudson’s scrambled eggs–which, unfortunately for Stanley Hopkins, were cold by the time “The Adventure of Black Peter” was concluded–may have been made like this:
Eggs, Scrambled.–Ingredients for dish for 4 persons.–6 eggs, 1 oz. of butter, pepper, salt, 4 slices of buttered toast. Average cost, 9d.
Put the butter in a saucepan, and break into it the eggs, and season well with pepper and salt. Beat the mixture while cooking with a fork, but do not thoroughly amalgamate the yolks and whites. After about 2 minutes, remove the pan to the side of the fire to finish cooking. The eggs should be set. Have ready some slices of toast hot and buttered, spread on them the egg and serve immediately,
Time.— 5 minutes.
Seasonable at any time.
—Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Every-day Cookery and Housekeeping. London: Ward, Lock, 1891.
I was actually pretty amazed when I saw how simple this was. I am not a fan of eggs at all, but everyone else in my family likes them, so I make scrambled eggs a lot–mixed with milk or cream, shredded cheese, salt, pepper (occasionally chorizo), and definitely “amalgamating” the whites and the yolk.
The WRS nerdy part of me wants to go on and tell you about the ham and poached eggs recipe, as well as the one for “curried fowl.” The responsible adult in me says that I have messed up the posting timeline quite enough already, and it’s time to get this post out of the way before tomorrow’s Birthday Post and Grand Prize. So….
It’s vintage Canon this time. Return (1895, McClure, Phillips, New York) and Memoirs (1893, Harper & Brothers, New York) are both illustrated and in decent shape. The Valley of Fear is somewhat fragile; it’s undated (the flyleaf is missing) and unillustrated, but it is a Newnes printing from London, which is pretty cool. To enter the drawing for this trio, just answer the following question:
What research detail did Holmes tell Hopkins that he had missed in his pursuit of Black Peter’s murderer?
As always, send your answer via blog comment, or FB message at the Well-read Sherlockian FB page.
I think the kids are getting cereal tomorrow.
Annnnd, Jim Bennett is another double winner. Percy Phelps was the poor, sleepy guy whose need for caffeine and impatience for his coffee led him to leave classified documents unattended in “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty”