Capt. Bob Bartlett’s favourite recipe

The Compass - - OPINION - Bur­ton K. Janes lives in Bay Roberts. His col­umn ap­pears in The Com­pass ev­ery week. He can be reached at bur­tonj@nfld.net.

a sil­ver spoon not in their mouths, but in their hands. The cap and apron, not the cap and bells, is the garb in which they per­form. Se­crets handed down through gen­er­a­tions are thrown with a wan­ton hand on the pages that com­prise this vol­ume. Sauces from the south, chow­ders from New Eng­land, bar­be­cued mas­ter­pieces from the west, grilled clas­sics from field and stream, ragouts, stews, desserts, dress­ings are hung within reach of all, like garlic clus­ters from the rafters of op­por­tu­nity. Reach up and help your­self.”

Davis cau­tioned the reader: “Turn the pages slowly lest you be over­whelmed by the rich­ness of the menu.” The con­trib­u­tors, he sug­gested, “are not afraid to take their own medicine.” Fi­nally, he joked that the men, whose favourite recipes make up the book, agreed with Jean An­thelme Bril­lat-Savarin (1755-1826), the French epi­cure and gas­tronome, who char­ac­ter­ized “‘ Gas­te­ria’ the tenth and fairest of the Muses.”

Sheri­dan ded­i­cated his book to “that great host of bach­e­lors and bene­dicts alike who have, at one time or another, tried to ‘ cook some­thing’; and who, in the at­tempt, have weak­ened un­der a fire of fem­i­nine raillery and sar­casm, only to spoil what, un­der more favourable cir­cum­stances, would have pro­vided a chef-d’oeu­vre.”

A book re­viewer, writ­ing in the Novem­ber 1923 is­sue of “The Ro­tar­ian,” promised that “there is hope for ... culi­nary crip­ples.” “The Stag Cook Book,” he sug­gested, “is an ex­cel­lent lit­tle vol­ume which should be in ev­ery bach­e­lor’s li­brary – and that of any mar­ried man who has in­flu­ence enough to get it into his home ... This book tells how to pre­pare the choice dishes of a dozen na­tions – and adds a pi­quant sauce of hu­mour all too rare in such pub­li­ca­tions. Ev­ery recipe is given by a well-known man whose trav­els guar­an­tee his taste – and the com­ment of th­ese epi­cures is as spicy as the dishes they sug­gest to the gour­mand. With this book, a lit­tle in­tel­li­gence, and a kitch­enette, you can avoid night­mare, save doc­tors’ bills, and make the gas­tro­nomic ges­ture part of your vo­cab­u­lary.” Now, back to Bri­gus’ most fa­mous son. Not sur­pris­ingly, Capt. Bob Bartlett’s favourite recipe was a fish dish. But not just any fish; it had to be “fresh Labrador cod­fish caught dur­ing the caplin school.” Why? “The fish is at this time in splen­did con­di­tion.”

He then launched into the in­tri­ca­cies of pre­par­ing the per­fect cod­fish dish. He took great pains to pro­vide the prospec­tive cook with the great­est de­tail to en­sure a pure gas­tro­nomic de­light.

First, “place a small bake pot upon a wood fire.”

Sec­ond, “take a few strips of fat pork.”

Third, cut up the pork “into small pieces.”

Fourth, put the pork pieces “into the bake pot.” Fifth, wait for the pork fat to melt. Sixth, “cut the fish into sev­eral small pieces.”

Sev­enth, place the pieces “in the pot.” Eighth, cook for about 20 min­utes. And ninth, he con­cluded, “the fish must be eaten from the pot with a wooden spoon.”

By the way, the favourite recipes of War­ren G. Harding, Harry Hou­dini, Charlie Chap­lin, Dou­glas Fair­banks Sr. and Henry van Dyke were waf­fles, scal­loped mush­rooms and dev­iled eggs, steak and kid­ney pie, bread tart and fish chow­der, re­spec­tively.

Hun­gry, any­one?

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