Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Savoury Tosted or Melted Cheese

image01.jpg picture by seshet27

Behold, Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight. He does not hold with Mr. Alcott's views on food, no! About 95% of his recipes are booze or booze-related. But who is this man?

With the waning of Sir Kenelm Digby's philosophic reputation his name has not become obscure. It stands, vaguely perhaps, but permanently, for something versatile and brilliant and romantic. He remains a perpetual type of the hero of romance, the double hero, in the field of action and the realm of the spirit. Had he lived in an earlier age he would now be a mythological personage; and even without the looming exaggeration and glamour of myth he still imposes. The men of to-day seem all of little stature, and less consequence, beside the gigantic creature who made his way with equal address and audacity in courts and councils, laboratories and ladies' bowers.-THE CLOSET OF SIR KENELM DIGBY KNIGHT OPENED [1669, reprinted with foreward in 1910]

Following that is an account of his various dalliances with Spanish and English ladies after he was not allowed to marry his True Love, Venetia, who then became the mistress of a string of men. When he returned, he fought a duel for her honor and married her.

"To read nearly all his Memoirs is to receive the impression that he looked on his wife as a wronged innocent. To read the whole is to feel he knew the truth and took the risk, which was not very great after all; for the lady of the many suitors and several adventures settled down to the mildest domesticity. They say he was jealous; but no one has said she gave him cause. The tale runs that Dorset [her former employer] visited them once a year, and 'only kissed her hand, Sir Kenelm being by.' But Digby was a good lover. All the absurd rhodomontade of his strange Memoirs notwithstanding, there are gleams of rare beauty in the story of his passion, which raise him to the level of the great lovers. His Memoirs were designed to tell "the beginning, progress, and consummation of that excellent love, which only makes me believe that our pilgrimage in this world is not indifferently laid upon all persons for a curse."

"On his tour among Italian courts, one of the grandees said that, 'having no children, he was very willing his wife should bring him a Prince by Sir Kenelme, whom he imagined the just measure of perfection.'"

Oh, Sir Digby! So, other than booze, booze, more booze, and things soaked in booze, what recipes can we find?
Cut pieces of quick, fat, rich, well tasted cheese, (as the best of Brye, Cheshire, &c. or sharp thick Cream-Cheese) into a dish of thick beaten melted Butter, that hath served for Sparages or the like, or pease, or other boiled Sallet, or ragout of meat, or gravy of Mutton:
IMG_2892.jpg picture by seshet27
and, if you will, Chop some of the Asparages among it, or slices of Gambon of Bacon, or fresh-collops, or Onions, or Sibboulets, or Anchovis, and set all this to melt upon a Chafing-dish of Coals, and stir all well together, to Incorporate them; and when all is of an equal consistence, strew some gross White-Pepper on it, and eat it with tosts or crusts of White-bread. You may scorch it at the top with a hot Fire-Shovel.

IMG_2894.jpg picture by seshet27

Hello, lover. Purrrrrr
IMG_2895-1.jpg picture by seshet27

Revised Savoury Tosted or Melted Cheese
I fried up some pieces of bacon, drained off most of the grease, then melted in a half-tablespoon of butter. Then I dropped slices of Monterey Jack in and stirred it around until it was melted.

Bacon grease, crispy bacon, butter, and cheese. Most perfect food ever? Almost, but not quite. The butter didn't melt into the cheese, so too bad there. But other than that... ahhh. Nice. Ron could not finish, he said it was too rich. I generously finished it off. Crispy bacon bits trapped in melted cheese floating in buttery bacon grease. Oh, Sir Kenelm Digby. You naughty thing you.


Bethany said...

Paula Deen would be so proud.

Jana said...

Paula Deen wishes she were as pimpin' as Sir Kenelm Digby.

Jenny Jo said...

Thank you, Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight, for teaching me the word "rhodomontade".

Nonna said...

Brave and glad you liked it...
I am now wondering if what Julia Child said is actually true " Everything is better with butter " ( I believe it is when applied properly )

In this case, I think Sir Digby was not only naughty in his personal life but helped people survive the harsh elements of the time with this dish, which sticks to your ribs and fills your arteries with gunk !

Jana said...

Jenny Jo- I have been trying to work that word into conversation. Sadly, I do not have a lot of confidence that I'm able to pronounce it right. :'(

N.B.- Julia Child is absolutely right. As are you.