Food and Fiction (Anna Karenina)

 

Levin and Oblonsky having a dinner. 
“If you prefer it, your excellency , a private room will be free directly; Prince Golistin with a lady. Fresh oysters have come in.” “Ah! oysters.” Stepan Arkadyevitch became thoughtful. “How if we were to change our program, Levin?” he said keeping his finger on the bill of fare. And his face expressed serious hesitation. “Are the oysters good? Mind now.” “They’re Flensburg, your excellency. We’ve no Ostend.” “Flensburg will do, but are they fresh?” “Only arrived yesterday.” “Well, then, how if we were to begin with oysters, and so change the whole program? Eh?” “It’s all the same to me. I should like cabbage soup and porridge better than anything; but of course there’s nothing like that here.” “Porridge a la Russe, your honor would like?” said the Tatar, bending down to Levin, like a nurse speaking to a child. “No, joking apart, whatever you choose is sure to be good. I’ve been skating, and I’m hungry. And don’t imagine,” he added, detecting a look of dissatisfaction on Oblonsky’s face , “that I shan’t appreciate your choice . I am fond of good things.” “I should hope so! After all, it’s one of the pleasures of life,” said Stepan Arkadyevitch. “Well, then, my friend, you give us two— or better say three— dozen oysters, clear soup with vegetables… ” “Printaniere,” prompted the Tatar. But Stepan Arkadyevitch apparently did not care to allow him the satisfaction of giving the French names of the dishes. “With vegetables in it, you know. Then turbot with thick sauce, then… roast beef; and mind it’s good. Yes , and capons, perhaps, and then sweets.” The Tatar, recollecting that it was Stepan Arkadyevitch’s way not to call the dishes by the names in the French bill of fare, did not repeat them after him, but could not resist rehearsing the whole menus to himself according to the bill:—” Soupe printaniere, turbot, sauce Beaumarchais, poulard a l’estragon, macedoine de fruits… etc.,” and then instantly, as though worked by springs, laying down one bound bill of fare, he took up another, the list of wines, and submitted it to Stepan Arkadyevitch. “What shall we drink?” “What you like, only not too much. Champagne,” said Levin. “What! to start with? You’re right though, I dare say. Do you like the white seal?” “Cachet blanc,” prompted the Tatar. “Very well, then, give us that brand with the oysters, and then we’ll see.” “Yes, sir. And what table wine?” “You can give us Nuits. Oh, no, better the classic Chablis.” “Yes, sir. And YOUR cheese, your excellency?” “Oh, yes, Parmesan. Or would you like another?” “No, it’s all the same to me,” said Levin, unable to suppress a smile. 
Tolstoy, Leo. “Anna Karenina”. Chapter 10.
Some of the recipes sound familiar? Because lots of them  are taken by Leo Tolstoy from his own dining room!
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