How jam fakers robbed the Spanish throne

Processing is underway into diverse preserves of the considerable quantities of blackberries and figs gathered this afternoon with la Primitiva Hermandad de la Primera Sueca on a variant of this walk. Some of the blackberries are being turned into liquor, and I found this whilst fishing around for a more unsuitable recipe:

A very laughable story is told in the history of Captain Woodes Rogers, or Captain Shelrock’s adventures, I do not know which. In one Spanish ship they took a quantity of preserves, which were afterwards distributed to the men at intervals; sugar being an antidote to the scurvy. One of the men, on having a piece of marmalade given him, complained that he could not stick his knife into it, and requested it might be changed. On examination, this pretended sweetmeat was found to be a portion of pure silver, of five ounces in weight, which was thus disguised in order to defraud the King of Spain of the duty. Many other pieces of a similar description were found; but they had the mortification to recollect that they had left a large cargo behind them, as useless.

A decent attempt at educational fiction published in 1834, The East Indians at Selwood segues into an exposition of the division of labour. But it doesn’t contain booze recipes, so burn your copy.

We couldn’t work out how to preserve this blackberry spider:
spider back
spider belly

… or this pregnant bar dog:
pregnant bitch

Identify the spider by tomorrow or we’ll probably have to barbecue both.

While we’re on relishes, the Wikipedia article on Haiti unfortunately doesn’t mention that that unhappy country began its independent existence as a parody of the French republic:

Henri Christophe was crowned King of Haiti, and a capuchin, named Corneille Brell, anointed him with cocoa-nut oil. In 1804, this same capuchin had anointed the Emperor Dessalines. The grand officers of the crown were entitled Duke of Marmalade, Count Lemonade, etc. The constitution of the kingdom of Haiti was copied from the French constitution of 1804

and was naturally called the Code Henri. The new aristocracy took its names from locally manufactured products, but that didn’t stop Gilbert and Sullivan or, here, Aime Cesaire:


With our snooty titles, Duke of Lemonade, Duke of Marmalade, Count Candy Hole, we have bottomless pit of them. What are you thinking! The French are holding their sides.

VASTEY (ironic)

Ye of little faith! Come on now! The laughter of the French doesn’t make me nervous! Marmalade, why not? Why not Lemonade? They are names that fill the mouth! Wishfully gastronomic! After all, the French have the Duke of Liver and the Duke of Bouillon. Are those more appetizing? There are precedents, you see! As far as you’re concerned, Magny, let’s get serious. Have you not noticed who Europe sent us when we appealed for aid to International Technical Assistance? Not an engineer. Not a soldier. Not a professor. A Master of Ceremonies! Form, that’s what it is, my dear, civilization! Forming men! Think about it, think! Form, the die on which the very stuff, the being of man is cast. Last of all. The void, but a prodigious void, a generator, a creator?

Plus ça change…

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