London Dainties

[Originally posted on Friday 24 July]

The bread I eat in London, is a deleterious paste, mixed up with chalk, alum, and bone-ashes ; insipid to the taste, and destructive to the constitution…

The milk… should not pass unanalysed, the produce of faded cabbage-leaves and sour draff, lowered with hot water, frothed with bruised snails, carried through the streets in open pails, exposed to foul rinsings discharged from doors and windows, spittle, snot, and tobacco-quids from foot-passengers, over-flowings from mud-carts, spatterings from coach-wheels, dirt and trash chucked into it by roguish boys for the joke’s sake, the spewings of infants, who have slabbered in the tin-measure, which is thrown back in that condition among the milk, for the benefit of the next customer ; and finally, the vermin that drops from the rags of the nasty drab that vends this precious mixture, under the respectable denomination of milkmaid.

I shall conclude this catalogue of London dainties, with that table-beer, guiltless of hops and malt, vapid and nauseous ; much fitter to facilitate the operation of a vomit, than to quench thirst and promote digestion ; the tallowy rancid mass called butter, manufactured with candle-grease and kitchen stuff ; and their fresh eggs, imported from France and Scotland.

From The Expedition Of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett (1771)

One thought on “London Dainties

  1. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose innit

    (orininally posted July 24th… but hasn’t gotten any more profound in the intervening hours)

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