Introduction

As a lover of early and mid-20th century British detective fiction, in particular Agatha Christie, I have often tried to imagine the food and drink referred to in my bedtime reading which normally comprises Agatha's novels. Even when I am feeling lazy or tired, I listen to her audio books.

The recipes here are my interpretations of meals, snacks and drinks that I have encountered during my reading and I am attempting to reproduce these as I imagine they were made during the decade in which the relevant novel was set. Although the majority of the posts are recipes, I will also include descriptions of those ingredients which are not in common use.

Each recipe is written for conventional cooking methods using traditional ingredients. It is also accompanied by a 21st century 'equivalent', including adaptions using more modern equipment such as the Thermomix or techniques such as sous vide. I just love my gadgets! Also I feel that food should have 'attitude' in that it must make you want to eat it again. It has to be full of flavour, which in one sense may seem to contradict the general consensus towards Brtish food at least, during the period in question. This is the challenge I have set myself - to give you traditional
recipes upon which you can build, and at the same time add a suggested modern equivalent which you might like to try anyway.



Wednesday, 24 August 2016

THE ADVENTURE OF THE CLAPHAM COOK

DE - Köchin gesucht
ES - La aventura de la cocinera
FR - L'Aventure de la cuisinière de Clapham
GR –
HU - A claphami szakácsnő kalandja
IT - L'avventura della cuoca di Clapham
PL – Przygoda kucharki z Clapham
PT - A Aventura da Cozinheira de Clapham
RO - Aventura Bucătarului Clapham
RU - Исчезновение Клэпемской кухарки
TR – Clapham Cook’un Macerası

PUBLICATION AND AUDIO-VISUAL HISTORY

Magazines:
The Sketch - 14 Nov 1923, Issue 1607 - UK

Short story collections:
Poirot’s Early Cases, Sep 1974 – UK
The Under Dog and Other Stories, 1951 – USA

Television:

Agatha Christie's Poirot (Season 1, Episode 1), 1989 – UK

THE UNDER DOG AND OTHER STORIES FIRST US EDITION (1951)


REFERENCES TO FOOD IN THE STORY

1) Annie was the parlourmaid in the household of Mr & Mrs Todd and was asked by Poirot whether she could remember the last thing said by the missing cook before her disappearance.  'Yes, I can. "If there's any stewed peaches over from the dining room," she says, "we'll have them for supper, and a bit of bacon and some fried potatoes."  Mad over stewed peaches she was.'  This remark indicated to Poirot that the cook had every intention of returning to the house that night.

2) Although it is implied that Mrs Todd was hard to please, when asked about her mistress, Annie said, "But the food's good,  Plenty of it, and no stinting.  Something hot for supper ... and as much frying fat as you like."

REFERENCES TO FOOD IN THE TELEVISION EPISODE

1) It was stated that the stewed peaches came with cream.

2) Mr Todd was seen helping himself to whisky from a decanter, but did not offer one to Poirot or Hastings, hinting at his parsimony.  In the story, it was he who put a halt on Poirot's investigation of the case to save money.


2014 US EDITION (CAPLE BOOKS CLASSIC SHORT STORIES) 


LINKS TO THE RECIPES

Bacon and fried potatoes

Stewed peaches and cream

Saturday, 9 January 2016

THE ADVENTURE OF THE ITALIAN NOBLEMAN

DE - Das Abenteuer des italienischen Edelmannes
ES - La aventura del noble italiano
FR - Le crime de Regent's Court
GR - Η περιπέτεια του Ιταλού ευγενή
HU - Az olasz gróf esete
IT - La disavventura di un nobile italiano
PL – Sprawa wloskiego arystokraty
PT - A aventura do nobre italiano
RU - Случай с итальянским вельможей
TR - Italyan Asilzadesinin Macerası

PUBLICATION AND AUDIO-VISUAL HISTORY

Magazines:
The Sketch – 24 Oct 1923, Issue 1604 – UK
Blue Book Magazine, Dec 1924, Vol. 40, No. 2 – USA (as ‘The Italian Nobleman’) - USA

Short story collections:
Poirot Investigates, 1924 – UK
Poirot Investigates, 1925 – USA

Television:
Agatha Christie's Poirot (Season 5, Episode 3), 1993 – UK

THE BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE DECEMBER 1924

REFERENCES TO FOOD IN THE STORY

1) 'The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman’ is another story where food and drink is a useful aid to Poirot in his solving of a mystery.  In this case it is just one meal, prepared by the chef in the kitchens of a block of London service flats where the victim, Count Foscatini, lives.  Upon discovery of the body, Poirot questions the chef who tells him that ‘The order was ... Soup julienne, filet de sole normande, tournedos of beef, and a rice soufflé.’  There is also a bowl of fruit in the room which appears to be untouched because the three dessert plates were clean.

2) Graves, the Count’s valet states that he placed ‘port on the table and brought in the coffee’ before being told that he could take the rest of the evening off from his duties.  The coffee is later described by Poirot as being ‘very black’.

REFERENCES TO FOOD IN THE TELEVISION EPISODE

Unusually, the food and drinks referred to in the story, remain unchanged in the episode.  The chef’s sense of hygiene leaves a lot to be desired though!


2016 EDITION CONTAINING DRAWINGS OF 
SUCHET AND FRASER AS POIROT AND HASTINGS

LINKS TO THE RECIPES

Soup Julienne
Dinner Rolls (not mentioned, but assumed to be served with the soup)

Fillet of Sole Normande

Tournedos of Beef

Rice Soufflé

Fruit

Black coffee

Port