If you find the text too small to read on this website, press the CTRL button and,
without taking your finger off, press the + button, which will enlarge the text.
Keep doing it until you have a comfortable reading size.
(Use the - button to reduce the size)

Today's quote:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pass the cucumber sandwiches, please


Oscar Wilde's 1895 play 'The Importance of Being Earnest' opens in a glamorous West London bachelor's pad belong-ing to the dandy Algernon. “Algy" asks his butler to prepare cucumber sandwiches for his aristocratic aunt, Lady Bracknell.

So why are cucumber sandwiches considered extravagant? Although cucumbers originated in India over 4,000 ago, it was not until Queen Victoria's appointment as Empress of India in 1877 that the influence of the national products, such as the cucumber, fully entered the British culture. Once the sandwiches hit the royal table for the first time, the upper and middle classes caught wind of it and made them their after-noon tea snack. Following the very Victorian tradition of imitating everything the Queen did, these once-dubbed "beautiful" people solidi-fied the connection between the cucumber sandwich and “poshness".


Recognise that faded red plastic chair, Des? I brought it down from Bougainville
to make you feel at home at "Riverbend" should you ever visit ☺


But getting back to Lady Bracknell, before she arrives, Jack Worthing turns up and eats all the sandwiches. When Lady Bracknell complains, Algie’s manservant comes to the rescue and says there were no cucum-bers at the market that day, “not even for ready money” - see here.

Well, he could've come to "Riverbend" where we're absolutely flush with cucumbers. After all, we've given up trying to grow any other vegetable since they only get eaten by birds or bugs. No birds or bugs seem to like cucumbers except us. And so it's cucumber salad and cucumber sand-wiches which should be slim, elegant, and deceptively inconsequential. A bit like an Oscar Wilde play, come to think of it.