A feast to cure melancholy

I feel as if I start every blog post with an apology these days. I won’t be posting a round-up of 2011 or a list of resolutions for 2012. I’ve got a cold, and my aunt who is staying with me has also got a cold. We’ve taken to our beds, and I thought I’d use the enforced rest time not to finish an essay that’s due in early January (I mean come on, that’s next year) but to catch up on a couple of blog posts I should have written months ago.

The first is A Feast To Cure Melancholy, part of the Wellcome Collection’s Recipes and Remedies series of events exploring the link between food and health. The Wellcome Collection has quite a large collection of recipe books and manuscripts, many of which are now available in digital format, so if you’re interested in such things I encourage you to join the library. Because I live just around the corner I spend a lot of time studying there (and possibly even more time in the cafe downstairs, being honest) and the library is wonderful.

It was in the library’s gorgeous galleried Reading Room that we ate our way through the Feast To Cure Melancholy. As we arrived we were given a card with our persona for the evening on it – I was Ezekiel, age 17, with flushed skin, a bloated stomach and hyperactive tendencies. We were then diagnosed by a “doctor” (actually one of the Wellcome staff in a very good acting turn) and then the doctor, an apothecary and a housewife all offered their own cures. I was apparently “sanguine” and the apothecary’s remedy involved lavender, wine, sage, and rosemary.

We then sat down to eat a meal devised by Blanch and Shock. The idea was to try to work out which course cured which humour. I only had my mobile phone with me so the pictures are rubbish. I also seem to have lost the menu but I’ll do my best to remember!

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I think this was wild boar with hay. I went for the vegetarian option, which was carrots:

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The next course was basically fish and chips:

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There were lots of capers and crunchy bits of fish skin, it was lovely.

I don’t think I remember what the next course was… Duck, maybe?

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The final course was really good:

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Those little clear blobs on the plate were like liquid acid drops. They went really well with the cheese and fruit.

The whole evening, meal, plus two drinks and entertainment, cost £15. Seriously good value, and it felt very naughty and fun to eat and in the library where you aren’t even allowed to take a water bottle in usually!

Do check out events at the Wellcome, as they are always interesting and entertaining.

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