Booth bits; modern cuisine

My father recently forwarded me an article from the Folger Theatre on highlights from the Folger’s Booth collection — “Booth” here being mainly Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, but also actor and presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth, and their father Junius Brutus Booth (senior).

Intrigued by a newspaper clipping reproduced in the Folger article, I tracked down the full text of Charles Pope’s article on “The Eccentric Booths” (1897-03-27) in the Washington Evening Star. It’s worth a read.

Previously on this blog: Edwin Booth (“Booth on Cassio,” 2019-01-05); the Evening Star (“Put the clock forward,” 2018-05-21).

The existence of a Junius Brutus Booth (senior) implies the existence of a (junior); and in fact Junius Brutus Booth Jr.’s eldest son was Junius Brutus Booth III. However, there was no Junius Brutus Booth IV, because Junius III killed both himself and his wife in a December 1912 murder-suicide.

Over on the other side of page 21 of the 1897-03-27 Evening Star, we find an uncredited poem which feels serendipitously relevant to my recent Michelin star map post. The poem here runs under the title “The Good Old Things,” but it seems to be a slight abridgement of a comic poem by James Courtney Challiss titled “My Daughter’s Learned to Cook,” which runs as follows:

We used to have old-fashioned things, like hominy and greens,
We used to have just common soup made out of pork and beans;
But now it’s bouillon, consommé, and things made from a book,
And Pot-au-Feu and Julienne, since my daughter’s learned to cook!

We used to have a piece of beef — just ordinary meat —
And pickled pigs’ feet, spare ribs, too, and other things to eat;
While now it’s filet and ragout, and leg of mutton braised,
And macaroni au gratin and sheep’s head Hollandaised,

Escallops á là Versailles, á là this and á là that,
And sweetbread á là Dieppoise — it’s enough to kill a cat!
But while I suffer sweetly, I invariably look
As if I were delighted that my daughter’s learned to cook!

We have a lot of salad things, with dressing mayonnaise,
In place of oysters, Blue Points, fricasseed a dozen ways,
And orange roly-poly, float, and peach meringue, alas —
Enough to wreck a stomach that is made of plated brass!

The good old things have passed away, in silent sad retreat;
We’ve lots of high-falutin’ things, but nothing much to eat.
And while I never say a word, and always pleasant look,
You bet I’ve had dyspepsia since my daughter’s learned to cook!

Posted 2019-03-28