Thursday 30 September 2021

Grammar: Hypallage/Transferred Epithet 2

In this Ancient Greek figure of speech, an adjective gets transferred to the wrong noun.

lonely road, hopeless dawn, sleepless night

a near catastrophe: nearly a catastrophe

shows the clear influence:
clearly shows the influence

through the bustling halls:
the halls are full of bustling people (Times Oct 2015)

sensitive toothpaste:
anti-sensitivity toothpaste

temperatures still simmered:
creatures simmered in high temperatures

ironing a quick shirt:
quickly ironing a shirt

fond idea: The holder is fond, not the idea.

sensitive subject: one that we’re sensitive about

in a sorry state

He smiled very charmingly into her competent spectacles. (Ngaio Marsh)

A deadly Rubicon
has been crossed. (@BrynleyHeaven The results of crossing the River Rubicon will be deadly, not the river itself.)

Millionaire filled doughnuts: Millionaire’s shortbread is shortbread with layers of chocolate and caramel – the doughnuts are caramel-filled.)

Surely your most burning legacy... (Justin Schlosberg, open letter to Jeremy Corbyn. A legacy of burning importance is meant.)

I have come to the reluctant view that the only way to resolve this is for the country to have the final say. (Tom Watson. He means he has reluctantly come to the view.)

bitingly bleak
marshland: It's swept by biting winds. (Times 2012)

The seasonable norm would be very grateful indeed: It would be welcome, and we'd be grateful. (BBC weathergirl)

This is the most divisive and bitter issue:
Badger culling will lead to bitter disputes. (BBC News)

The elusive search for King Arthur’s court:
the search for King Arthur’s elusive court

She was shrinkingly introduced to London society:
She, not her introduction, was a shrinking violet.

Johnson chucked angry rocks at Parliament. (Laura Kuenssberg, 2023)

More here.

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Brexit Cookbook 3

Recent research by Aldi shows many young people haven't heard of bangers and mash, toad in the hole, spotted dick, Scotch egg or black pudding. Why has no hipster opened a British café serving proper British delicacies like this, washed down by tea made from leaves in a metal teapot?

Bangers and Mash
Bake sausages (pork, beef, chicken or vegan) slowly in the oven in a roasting tin until the outsides are dry and charred. Boil peeled potatoes. When cooked, mash with milk and butter. Make a mound out of the mashed potatoes and poke the sausagers (bangers) in at intervals. Serve with tinned "marrowfat" peas a la Beryl the Peril.

Toad in the Hole
Bake sausages in a roasting tin in a hot oven for 15 mins.

For the batter:

5oz plain flour
2 eggs
1/3 pint semi-skimmed milk
1/2 tsp salt

Tip flour into bowl, stir in salt. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Whisk together, slowly adding the milk.

Remove the tin from the oven and pour in the batter. Return to oven and cook for 30mins.

Spotted Dick
Boiled suet puddings made sense when you cooked in a cauldron over an open fire (the pudding went in a cloth), but they lived on as steamed puddings until we saw sense. There may be a baked version.

10½ oz/2 cups plain flour
4½ oz shredded suet
1¾ oz dark brown sugar
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 pint milk
5½ oz currants, soaked in water

Combine flour, suet, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well.

Add egg and a little milk while constantly stirring. Keep adding milk until you can bring the mixture together with your hands into a stiff dough. Work in the currants.

Roll dough into a ball and press into a greased pudding basin. Steam in the oven for 4 hours. Serve with custard.

How to steam a pudding:
Once the pudding is in the basin, firmly tie a cloth over the top with string. Put the basin in a roasting tin filled shallowly with water and put the whole thing in the oven. Keep checking to make sure there's still water in the tin, and topping it up if necessary. (My mother used baco foil instead of a cloth.)

Scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs covered in sausage-meat and breadcrumbs, and baked. Black pudding is - vegans look away - a sausage made of pig's blood and oats. It is inexplicably popular with foodies who like to combine it with mashed potatoes as "Black Lightning". Scotch eggs are dry but delicious; vegetarian and chicken sausage versions are available.

White sauce
Take a piece of butter the size of a walnut and melt it in a saucepan. Sprinkle in some flour and stir till absorbed. Add a splash of milk (from a half-pint) and keep stirring - you may need a hand whisk to remove lumps. When smooth and thickened, add the next dollop of milk and repeat the procedure until you've used all the milk. Let it bubble for about 30 seconds then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins, stirring frequently. 

This bland substance can be poured over braised celery, braised endive, boiled beetroot, or cooked and diced leeks. You can add grated cheese at the end of the process and stir until melted.

Serve the above vegetable dishes with a slice of cold roast mutton and plain boiled potatoes on the side.

Wartime low-fat version: put the milk in the saucepan. Dissolve 2 tsp of cornflour in a half-cup of water and add. Heat to a simmer and stir until thickened. Add a teaspoon of parmesan if you like.

Fried-egg sandwich
Margarine a couple of thin white-bread slices. Fry an egg. Insert between the slices, with a spoonful of Branston pickle. Wash down with tea and a No. 6 (cigarette).

Proper cup of tea - learn how to make one here.

More here, and links to the rest.

Movie Clichés in Quotes 4

TV costume drama departments often get the period dress of the recent past slightly wrong. They pick up on certain things and ignore others. I've yet to see a drama set in the mid 1970s that captures the near-universal headscarf look worn by young women at the time (tied under the hair at the back, not under the chin like their grannies). I guess this was a street style that never made it into the V&A.
(Hugh Pearman)

Bombastic music deafens each emotional climax; women go to sleep with their glossy masks of makeup intact. (imdb)

The stolen uniform fits perfectly, rays are visible. (Bluenose Ex-Teacher)

I’m wondering when the 'wobbly headed Indian' left our TV screens. (@mrmatthewwest)

Leader (normally CIA functionary) tells group of nerds sat around PCs "Listen up people. I need everything on ____. Now!" Nerds get typing without any further discussion or assigning of roles. (@mrpaul2014)
You know that trope, where there's a tussle and the bad guy shoots himself with the gun he was going to shoot the good guy with? Is that even possible? (@daveherman)

Trivia about tonight's The Champions on @TalkingPicsTV: The Night People. Strays from the usual format into Hammer territory. They're all here: the doomed poacher, the white witch, the unfriendly landlord, the creepy butler, the dodgy uranium dealer. (@MarkTrevorOwen)

Proper old school thunder and lightning round here. I feel like we need to read out a will, or bring a monster to life... or something. (@Otto_English)

I am always puzzled by the apparent age of kids’ parents. Freddy is about fifteen. At his age my parents were 36, but his parents look ancient. Belinda Lee, who plays Molly, was 22 at the time, but her mother (Gretchen Franklin) has the appearance of an old age pensioner! Maybe its just their clothes? In American films of the era it's even worse. With grey-haired dowagers parenting 10 year-olds! (Imdb)

John Ford’s The Quiet Man set the standard for big screen paddywhackery (booze, fights, priests and chaste romance) with a template that has been replicated for decades... A soulless sophisticate from the big city, ideally New York, is brought over to Ireland and is instantly transformed by the sights of lush pastures, the liberating influence of the alcohol, and the magnetic allure of the people, who are strictly divided between gormless comedy also-ran imbeciles and simple, attractive (but still basically ignorant) romantic leads. (Kevin Maher, Times on Wild Mountain Thyme, May 2021)

I'd be interested to know whether there is a kind of formula for TV 'drama' that says 'If a woman is abused or killed in episode 1 we can guarantee a good audience and overseas sales ...' (@Dymvue)

The Crown: I know we're supposed to feel empathy with Thatcher when she's so awkward with the royal family - though are we really? - but I'm just pleased to see such a world historical monster suffer. And apparently her neoliberal reforms were driven by her personal insecurities? For me, the ultimate Crown moment was when Prince Phillip realized the astronauts who landed on the moon were nothing compared to him. Every episode has to have that moment where they bask in their superiority. I feel like the Brezhnev-era USSR could have produced a Lenin biopic with more subtlety than The Crown. (@adamkotkso )

Jane Wyman plays a widow who falls in love with Rock Hudson in front of a series of improbably Technicolor sunsets as her children disapprove. It’s over-the-top, lovely, and poignant. (Dear Prudie on All that Heaven Allows)

Another horror film observation: if you buy a house with a Mysterious Locked Room, get a locksmith in. (@volewriter)

Would love to see a gay film one day that isn't some combo of:
I came out to my parents and they disowned me.
We can't be together because I am/will be married to a woman.
1+ people dying of AIDS.

I try to avoid remakes, reboots, spin-offs, sequels, prequels and re-imaginings. You may guess that I don't watch many new shows! (Michael O’Brien)

What's confusing about The Mandalorian, and the Star Wars universe more generally, is that they're about a fascist Empire that has little to no surveillance tech. All they've got are 1970s CCTVs! And nobody is ever paying attention to them. (@Annaleen)

There is the obligatory night club sequence with the song 'Soho Mambo' (which is as bad as it sounds). (imdb on The Gelignite Gang)

Anytime they try to use a floor show to get a point across, it fails. (imdb)

...and then by bus to a throaty restless obsessed temptress 'thrush' slouched in mortal danger atop a white piano, singing the blues and chain-smoking, somewhere in the long, dark, wet and winding night between Chicago and 'the coast.' (James McCourt)

Wheeler-dealers in sheepskin coats meet in electric-fire-heated prefabs to discuss dirty business as the corpses of murdered associates fall into car crushers and men with crowbars chase each other across piles of rubble and batter each other to death on rickety iron stairwells. (Gareth E. Rees, Unofficial Britain)

I liked Elementary for a couple of seasons, but eventually it got too convoluted and tied with the personal lives of the main characters. (Bruce Richard Gillespie)

Watching one of those important British films where everyone lives lives of terse brutal unloveliness, what's for breakfast you c*nt, its f***ing cornflakes you b*****d. (@robpalkwriter)

When you’re watching a film for the wallpaper you know you’re in trouble. (Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film)

My favourite Morricone track was Sophisticated Woman in Expensive Headscarf Walks Across Deserted Piazza Scattering Pigeons at Dawn. (@rcscribbler)

Like when the mark goes back to the con man's office and finds an empty warehouse. (@WordMercenary)

An Art Garfunkel looking poet who walked around quoting poetry and staring into the air. (imdb on Perry Mason)

Ireland could become a fully communist country ruled by a council of seven drag queens and RTE will still have a pic of nuns voting. (@daithigor)

There is a whole set of films where some bad-ass has to escort some not-a-bad-ass somewhere, because some reason, whatever. It's sort of a sub-genre of the generic buddy movie, but more stabby and shooty. (@VictorianLondon)

Everyone has long profound looks at each other – they frequently cry on meeting, or seeing people shot or something. (Kenneth Williams on Dr Zhivago)

Why is it in films and TV programmes, they always get taking a blood pressure reading wrong? (@AwayFromTheKeys)

I struggle to think of anything that has gone beyond four seasons that isn’t either tired or transformed beyond recognition by the time it has reached its stuttering conclusion. (@Glitter_brawl)

I watched 4 SF blockbusters on this flight: Alien: Covenant, Terminator: Dark Fate, The Martian, Ad Astra... the 1st two have the same “I’m-you-you’re-me” robot fight, & the 2nd two have the “loner explores outer space to find his inner self” vibe... (@simon_sellars)

Bridgerton: the feminist stuff felt kind of shoehorned. (@igstoy)

The Little Women effect of cutting and pasting heavy issue-based speeches. (PM)

Rushed but also confused, taking chronological mayhem for “being modern and cool”. (FB commenter on Little Women)

A “fresh take” and a “modern twist” on a classic translates as “we make it quite clear that we in the present denigrate and distance ourselves from the characters’ old-fashioned attitudes, unless we can put modern attitudes into the mouths of characters who lived in a time of slavery, snobbery, racism and women’s oppression”. The Lord forbid we present the story as the author wrote it in 1850 or whenever. Or present 1850s feminism as it actually was. (Georgina Spelvin)

The worst thing about it is a lengthy dream sequence. These things never turn out well. (Amazon commenter on The Chase, 1946)

Obligatory in any new TV drama ...
flash forward at start of episode
gratuitous drone shot of woods/moors/fields/playground
end with ominous music slowly rising to a crescendo

They're evoking a persistent trope here: the battered, weary soldier for whom death is a relief. (@Delafina777)

There's a rule about comedy that the more the cast is laughing the less funny it is. (@Bloke_On_A_Bike)

The Armenian duduk. Documentary on ancient Egypt? Duduk. Slightly exotic drama set in modern Istanbul? Duduk. So annoying. (@katherineschof8)

I love in movies to show someone is poor they make them live in a normal apartment and take the bus. (@geekylonglegs)

Can anyone explain why Sanditon keeps using Copland's Hoe Down every couple of minutes?? A little Googling and I can't link it to anything but square dance or Irish tunes. They keep using it and it's driving me crazy. How on earth is it English society music? (@LindenG Jane Austen's boys and girls danced "country dances", or set dances, to tunes like those found in Playford's Dancing Master.)

On Peaky Blinders: Whole hours of my life have been wasted watching these people very slowly walking down streets, looking fantastic. In the background, always, somebody is welding. I never know why. (Times Sept 2019)

What was the semiology of braces in 70s TV? I mean wide, wacky braces over a plaid shirt, with jeans rather than hidden under a three-piece suit. Did it signal “gay”? (AB)

Modern film has come to rely more and more upon the frivolous car-chase, the flashy explosion. (imdb)

Wolf of Wall Street: supposedly satirising and condemning a toxic culture but seen by too many as a celebration and justification for that culture with the lead character being adopted as a mascot by the vile. (@ScanlanWithAnA)

Netflix’s series The Last Czars contains a lot of what we in Russia call klyukva (“cranberry”) – deeply stereotypical portraits of Russia, its people, and the circumstances they live in. Peasant life is depicted as a Disneyworld paradise; the capitals are graced with palaces drowning in gold and jewels; the bad Russians (mainly Bolsheviks), drink a lot – and so on... Important figures are oversimplified and cartoonish: ‘a good Romanov democratic adviser’, ‘a bad Romanov autocrat adviser’, ‘a ruthless revolutionary’. ( It’s a “sumptuous” series about the Romanovs, full of gratuitous sex scenes, where all the cast swear constantly.)

I would have enjoyed The Wire more had I been able to decipher the dialogue (the writer wanted the audience to “work at it”.)... However, incoherence is often intentional because it is “naturalistic”. (Carol Midgley, Times 2019. Directors, please get actors to face the camera, light them well, go in for a close-up and persuade them to move their faces when they talk.)

The threat of nuclear Armageddon has always had a slightly sterile, clinical feel to it. There will be chrome, and valves, and a megalomaniac, and perhaps some manner of monorail in an underground high-tech bunker, and then there will be a blinding flash of light and everything will be over.
(Hugo Rifkind, Times 2019)

I'm sorry to The Sister on ITV, but I just can't be faffed with another drama series where the time jumps around. (@nickw84)

Oh god same. Linear storytelling please - No huge flashbacks or origin story capsule episodes.

From Line of Duty bingo:
Wad of cash
Secret meeting in a dark tunnel or alley
A really long interview scene
Literally any acronym
“Document X is in your folder”
Peering over the mezzanine
Glaring through an office window

More here, and links to the rest.

Sunday 26 September 2021

Grammar: Boo and Hooray

Sometimes we use the same word for two different meanings: one boo, one hooray.

buying: purchasing objects
buying (as in “no buying day”): media-fuelled shopping frenzy

feminist: campaigner for women’s rights
feminist: vicious man-hater

human: member of the species Homo sapiens
human: mature, civilised, eligible for rights

journalists: doorsteppers, reptiles, Guardian women opinion columnists, “churnalists” who copy out press releases

journalists: subeditors on Caravanning Monthly, reporters on the Brighton Evening Argus, the editor of Marine Seismology News (and many more)

relationship: We have sex and go out, but this isn’t a Relationship because it “isn’t going anywhere”. (I think this means “I’m not going to marry her”.)

Relationship: We have sex and go out, and this is a Relationship. (And this means: “We are officially an item and a couple, and I introduce you to my friends and family”.)

society: us – hooray!
society: them – boo!
the society: a society distant in time and space, an exotic society

You can’t exclude people from society: society is all of us. And if you don’t like living in a society that includes down-and-outs, do something about it. The “underprivileged” or “deprived” are now the “excluded”.

the media: newspapers, television, local newspapers, magazines, scientific journals, special-interest magazines, in-flight magazines

the media: those ghastly tabloids, the Guardian

unconscious: unthinking, habitual, on automatic pilot
unconscious: under a general anaesthetic
(Not pejorative, but it’s confusing to use the same word in two different senses.)

wonder: the sense of awe and humility that we should all feel when we look at the stars

wonder: the sense of curiosity we feel when we look at the stars, that leads us to become astronomers

(Scientists probably experience the second, but since it’s the same word we can pretend that they, too, look at the stars and feel stunned by their own insignificance.)

More about word usage, dysphemisms and euphemisms, inclusion and exclusion in my book Boo and Hooray.

More here, and links to the rest.

Thursday 9 September 2021

Even More Corny Old Jokes

A lady of a certain age, all dolled up in furs, in the dock, replying to the judge: "Of course I'm not innocent. Are you?" (glardner)

And then you get 'what's the matter, don't you have a sense of humour?' To which the only answer is, I do, but you, Oscar bl**dy Wilde, do not and have to recycle jokes that were old in the Stone Age.

I know the modern world isn't perfect, but young people these days do need to be grateful that they aren't growing up in a society where people routinely tell extremely long convoluted jokes that eventually lead up to a desperately tortured pun. (@RSmythFreelance)

Notice: This printer is here temporarily.
Postit: In the greater scheme of things, aren’t we all?

Local news just informed us that ‘business is ticking over’ at a watch stall in the market. (@WhenIsBirths)

What did St Patrick say to the snakes when he was driving them out of Ireland?
“Are you all right in the back there?”

RIP Pythagoras, you're with the angles now.

On any ancient iron boiler: RUST IN PEACE.

England for the English! (A wag adds “and Peckham for the peckish”.)

Remember the ladies discussing what to do when your diamonds get dirty? Clean them with toothpaste or milk? Or just throw them away and get a new lot? 

I once sat on a beach in Corfu listening to an awful woman boast about her privileged life to the couple sitting near her. When she finally finished, she said to the couple, "What do YOU do?",  to which the wife replied, "We own this beach." (@sagasue)

Russian oligarchs in the Yeltsin years:
One says "I paid $3,000 for this tie."
"You fool, you could have paid $4,000" is the reply.

Queue in card shop this a.m. Heard assistant say to customer in front that it was his last day.
Me to assistant (when my turn): Did I hear you say it was your last day?
Him: Yes.
Me: On earth?
Him: No. I'm moving to Liverpool.
Me: Well that's more or less the same thing.

What did these fish die of?
A terminal eelness.
(Mitchel Mayes)

Why are there no horses on the Isle of Wight? They prefer Cowes to Ryde.

I’ve listened to sea shells that made more sense! (Dr Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1939)

In the bookshop: We’ve moved a few things around. Travel is in the Fantasy section, Politics is in Sci-Fi, and Epidemiology is in Self-Help. Good luck. (Nov 2020)

On the door of the music shop: Gone Chopin. Bach in five minuets. Try Handel.

There’s been a break-in at the cement factory. Police are looking for hardened criminals.

A woman's definition of marriage: "Aisle, altar, hymn."

It's confusing. I thought I was a Leo but now it turns out I'm a Boomer. (DL, via FB)

Life is too short to waste trying to unscrew the inscrutable. (RM)

Metropolitan Liberal Elite is my favourite font.

Tony Blair (to old lady in care home): Do you know who I am?
OL: I'm afraid I don't, but if you ask matron, she'll tell you.

I just treated him with complete ignoral! (Old Punch joke)

Why didn’t the viper vipe her nose?
Because the adder adder ankerchief.

When British troops first landed in Basra some minister or other said that it is very like Southampton. "Southampton?", a squaddie replied. "No women, no beer, and they're shooting at you? More like Portsmouth!"

Hieroglyphs haven't been used since the year bird, bird, fish. (Via Twitter)

I've got an Eton-themed advent calendar, where all the doors are opened for me by my dad's contacts. (IG)

How many Brexiteers does it take to change a lightbulb?
Hundreds: one to promise a brighter future and the rest to screw it up.

Obsequious waiter in a posh dining establishment in Central London: "How was the quality of your meal, Sir?"
Diner: "Very good."
OW: "How did you find the meat?"
D: "It was easy: I moved a slice of carrot – and there it was!"

What you get when you cross a lawyer with a mafioso – an offer you can’t understand.

He used every cliché from God Is Love to Please Adjust Your Dress Before Leaving.

Why did the coal scuttle?
Because it saw the kitchen sink!

What’s the difference between a bison and a buffalo?
You can’t wash your hands in a buffalo.

Was that a wolf?
Only sometimes.

Calm yourself, dear. Even Hitler can’t be both dregs AND scum. (Punch)

Lord Birkenhead, when asked for the way to the bathroom by someone he didn't like, replied 'Along the corridor, first left. You'll see a door marked "Gentlemen" but don't let that deter you'.

This book contains the work of three Brazilian mystery writers.
Wow, that’s amazing! How many is a brazilian, again?
(Scott K. Ratner)

Punch started it:
The East End
Tough 1: Oo’s that, Bill?
Tough 2: A stranger.
Tough 1: 'Eave 'alf a brick at 'im.

PG Wodehouse said that Winchester was the kind of place where you couldn’t throw half a brick without hitting the niece of a canon.

"Bloody place. Can't throw half a brick without hitting a tourist."
"What? There's only one!"
"Yeah, I had to aim really carefully."

More here, and links to the rest.

Thursday 2 September 2021

Brexit Cookbook 2

Nature's bounty – treat with care.

are plentiful throughout the summer. Don't spud them out of your lawn, eat them! Outer coarse leaves can be cooked like spinach (boil quickly with a little water and butter in a covered pan). New tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads - but they wilt quickly. You can even eat the flowers, deep-fried in batter. Don't eat too much – and don't eat the stalks! Medical warnings here.

Puffballs may appear on your lawn. When young, they can be sliced and fried in butter. But make sure they are puffballs and not young poisonous agarics.

Radish tops and turnip tops can be cooked like spinach.

Stuffed celery: Pound grated cheese and margarine until smooth. Insert into celery sticks. Chill. Cut the sticks in slices.

Boiled cabbage: It used to accompany every meal in the Good Old Days. All institutions smelled permanently of the stuff. American poet T.S. Eliot thought it the heart of English identity. It was vile. But lightly boiled cabbage can be eaten cold with salt, pepper, oil and vinegar as a salad. Or you can heat the cooked cabbage with margarine, vinegar and sugar until the sugar melts. Good luck finding proper margarine.

Potato pasty: Make pastry, roll out. Peel and cube a potato. Put the potato cubes on half the pastry, fold over and seal the edges. Bake in a moderate oven for an hour. For extra excitement, add a knob of butter or some chopped parsley to the potato. Or go wild and mix in some cooked spinach and grated Gruyère cheese.

Pigeon's eggs: You can bake a pigeon's egg in the hollow of an avocado. For a more Brexit version, use a tomato, or a cooked turnip or potato. A monastic dovecote the size of a house may not fit in your garden, but you can put up a small one on a pole, as in the Jan Steen painting above.

Sorrel: Use instead of wild rocket, but sparingly  – it's sour and peppery.

Lime leaves: Young lime or linden leaves can be added to salads. Wash them well - the trees tend to grow at the sides of busy roads.

More patriotic recipes here.

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Brexit Cookbook

We don't need the EU! We don't need the rest of the world! We just need to bring back monastic farming: raise fish in fish ponds, rabbits in rabbit warrens (or back gardens), pigeons in dovecotes (for their eggs). Like the Anglo-Saxons, we can install eel and fish traps/weirs in rivers.

Let's eat the invasive American crayfish, with a side order of Japanese knotweed (fry young tender shoots in butter).

Let's use native species, like chestnuts and seakale.


Use peeled chestnuts (make sure they're not imported), or forage your own. To peel, make a slit in the sides of the nuts, boil for 15 mins. While still warm, remove shells and skins.

lemon juice
salt and pepper
grated nutmeg

Fry the chopped onion in the butter, add stock, chestnuts and other ingredients and simmer. Mash the chestnuts with a potato masher. Add cream if liked.

Puréed chestnuts mixed with sugar, butter and dark chocolate make a pudding called Turinese. Top with whipped cream.


Sea kale, a relative of the cabbage with blueish leaves, grows on shingly beaches. Forage the leaves and boil until soft. Or take the root, plant it in your garden, and put a big flower pot over it to force it like rhubarb – the leaves will be paler, softer and sweeter.

White sauce
A piece of butter the size of a walnut, flour, milk.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and add a tablespoon of flour. Mix until the flour swells, then add a cupful of milk. Mix again until smooth. Keep adding milk in small quantities, and stirring – you can remove lumps with a hand whisk. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper. Stir in grated cheese to make a cheese sauce.

Mrs Beeton would line a vegetable dish with buttered toast, put a layer of kale on top, then pour over the sauce. All this would work with ordinary kale - boil until soft.