Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just a thought

Autumn is approaching and is, indeed, nigh, which would be easier to bear if we had had a reasonable summer. However, the end of August does mean that I really need to spend more time on actual work rather than pretend stuff. On the whole, this blog counts as work, though, obviously, not the paid kind.

Part of the week-end was spent reading various books to do with history of cooking and cookery books (there is method in my madness, as it happens), one being Kate Colquhoun's fascinating though at times slightly tendentious Taste - The Story of Britain through its Cooking. It is full of fascinating tit-bits of information.

For example, we find this on page 111, as part of a chapter on the vast amount of sugar consumed by the Tudors and the presentation of the many and varied sweetmeats that became an enormous part of their dinners and banquets:
Silver or gilt bowls were used, and English green glass and valuable imported Venetian glass were prized - vessels beautifully etched with mottoes and devices or rolled over water while being blown to produce a fine tissue of lines.
Nothing too unusual there: Venetian glass was highly prized and many attempts - some successful, some less so - were made to create local industries that would compete.

The interesting detail is found in the notes where Ms Colquhoun explains:
Venice protected its lucrative glass-blowing industry by forbidding its artisans to work abroad, on pain of death. Realising the profit to be made from an appreciative British market, and taking his life into his hands, the first Venetian did establish a glass studio in London in 1572.
How interesting, I thought to myself, if somewhat badly edited, particularly the note (once an editor, always an editor). Of course, if we had had the European Arrest Warrant at the time, things would have been very different.


  1. "Venice protected its lucrative glass-blowing industry by forbidding its artisans to work abroad." Eurgh. It should be "from working abroad".

    Those Venetian artisans should have taken their case to the European Court of Justice. How awful that Venice ignored the free movement of people and services.

  2. I agree about the style, Clarence. Unfortunate but I cannot really correct it when I am copying out a quotation. As for the ECHR, well, I am not so sure. I suppose that could have been brought into play against the EAW. It's an interesting point.

  3. I knew you'd never make a grammatical mistake like that, Helen.

    Regarding my silly point: if the doges were preventing the artisans from plying their trade in England, wouldn't that be a matter for the ECJ (four freedoms) not the ECHR?

    Having read those foodie histories, can you tell us if apple pie originated in England or the colonies?

  4. PS and wildly off topic.

    I was lucky enough recently to have dinner with the priest from this church:


    He's called Tim Russ and is great company. His church is famous in the area for its car park, which has an official-looking sign saying, "Pray and display". Anyway, I asked him why he hosted the ceremony and it is because, as you thought, the organiser is a friend and parishioner.