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September 21, 2007



Mrs. P.,

Thank you very much for the nice words. (It's been a long time since I was considered a "younger" anything.)
I really appreciate you all letting me stick around.

The mention of more recipes in the post reminded me of a failing of mine, vis a vis Patum Peperium. I have yet to contribute to the recipe commonweal and you have been polite enough not to mention it.

I aim to correct that right now.

I think the best foods are season-specific and so this is the one for late summer, since August and September are really the only months for very good tomatoes. The final product is also quite refreshing in the heat.

So here it is, then, Travis's World's Best Salsa (also a key ingredient in Travis's Only Slightly Less Good Guacamole).

Let me say, up front, that this sounds (and is) remarkably simple. But, as much as fresh salsa can, it will change your life.

7 good tomatoes (best bought by someone selling them on the side of the raod), sliced into small chunks by hand.
1/8 of a green pepper, diced.
1/4 tart apple (pref. Granny Smith), diced.
20 leaves fresh cilantro, torn in pieces.
Half a lemon, squeezed on top.
Cool in the fridge for twenty minutes.

That is it. When properly made - and consumed on some salty tortilla chips - it is strikingly good.

Okay. Now I feel much better.



Many thanks, good madame, for your kind words and mention, 'though I must take issue with what you've written.

"Killing [my] readership off?" Come now, Mrs P., my readership is made of sterner stuff than that! A cinq is just barel y enough to take the edge off a cold Canadian summer.

And while there's not much malaria up here, one can never be to careful about taking the proper medication-- what with all these mosquitos about.

I'm simply performing a public service.

(Or so I hope. The alternative is that Jacqueline's taken to drink to put up with me.)


Mrs. P.,

Thank you kindly for the favorable mention. I enjoy the company here very much. Indeed, life would be quite dull without a naughty uncle or two.

Mrs. Peperium

twm, your salsa recipe sounds delicious. I once promised you a recipe for cottage pie and I don't think I ever came forward with it. With the advent of Fall this weekend, we are most almost certainly sliding into the right weather. Though I'm still working thorugh the end of the summer tomatoes here and should put up a tomato and bread soup recipe for all of you.

You know I never even put together the post on the discovery of some historical documents -- currency printed by Ben Franklin in 1754 no less and a few other items of interest...

Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy...now I've got quite a bit of Canadian Scottish blood in me --too much really as it's all from psychopathic Highlanders--- and Mr. P's grandfather was a Canadian RAF pilot in WWI. So I'm quite familiar with Canada and how much medicinal drinking is required... Mr. P was a bit like you and I'll never forget the night, well technically I have forgotten the night, he prepared for his new bride an old boarding school concotion using your methods of measuring. It was called a Hop, Skip and Go Naked....

Halfway through my first one, I passed out on the couch. Long before and hopping and skipping took place. Mr. P learned the necessity of using jiggers when pouring for ladies...

Lorraine, glad you appreciate the finer things in life...

Basil Seal

I, for one, am appalled at the apparent lack of training given to the young members of the RCBfA at your school. Why, at that age, if you had come to our school, you would have been lucky to get out alive. No young RCBfAer would put something down his own mothers shirt in my day...There are no Oedipus types in the RCBfA you know...(A strange family the Oedupus', don't you think?) He would have put it down his mother's friends shirt (and probably unfasten some buttons while we were at it) What's wrong with the young today? At Little Bertie's age, we were all handling the Clubman shaker like pros ourselves, no need for mommy to help. Jeesh....And Uncle Basil did appear in a film, yes, in The Philadelphia Story I was portrayed as "Uncle Willie" but it was Uncle Basil...Don't play with fire child...


Mrs. P.,

Speaking of the finer things in life, I received a Penzey Spices catalog today. Julia Child never had it so good.

Below is my favorite Tomato Soup recipe. Readers kindly note, however, that it goes astray in one respect. Mascarpone should never be optional.

3 lb. plum tomatoes, cored and halved
8 fresh thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
5 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
cheese (optional)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
4 slices country-style bread, toasted


Preheat an oven to 275°F.

Arrange the tomato halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Scatter the thyme sprigs and garlic on top of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Roast until the tomatoes have dried slightly and some of the skins have burst, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, using a rubber spatula, stir together the mascarpone and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Pass the roasted tomatoes through a tomato press according to the manufacturers instructions. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the pureed tomatoes, stock and bread and simmer for 5 minutes.

Using a stick blender or blender, puree the soup and season with salt and pepper. Divide the soup among 6 warmed soup bowls and top each with a dollop of the cheese mixture. Serves 6.

Old Dominion Tory

Adding a little more Canadian flavor to Patum Peperium is the fact that Irish Elk and I are descendants of Acadians. In fact, one of Mr. Elk's ancestors actually was premier of Prince Edward Island for a time.
Oh, Andrew Cusack thinks the world of Sir Guy Carleton and the architecture of Old Quebec (as well as The Monarchist).


Duly noted, Mrs P.

I was already impressed enough by your widsom to contemplate listening, but now, learning you've highland heritage, I'm too scared not to (A dun'ae fancy'a beatin') I will learn of these supposed "half-measures" and "moderation."


Thank you for the information, Old Dominion Tory. I do find it so wonderful that we, Americans and Canadians I mean, have such genuinely familial ties. I have such ties with the Old Dominion myself!

What good folk there are about here at Peperium -- it's always a pleasure to visit.

Mr. Peperium

Yes, it is. But then the real success of a party always hinges on who shows up. In that we have been singularly fortunate.

Guy Carleton, from the glimpses I've been getting of him in my reading on the years 1754-1783, was a singular individual. A thorough professional in the soldiering line, it seems to me he owes his successes to a level head--which came, at least in my reading, from a lack of interest in glory.

Speaking of 1754, that currency printed by Franklin was printed in 1759--the year Quebec fell, the Annus Mirabilis for England and her colonies, a year of disaster for France and hers. I sat at my mother-in-law's dining room table marvelling how the ink I was holding (through a plastic bag--never fear, twm) was wet when the fate of the world hung in the balance. I had to give my mother-in-law the bad news, though: chances are that Franklin himself never touched let alone saw the small slip of tea-leaf-fine paper. For one thing, Franklin had retired to the life of a gentleman of public affairs long before 1759, leaving his printing enterprises in the hands of others. For another thing, he was in England from April onward that year.

Emily Hale

Thank you for your kind notice. I feel a bit awkward responding without a proper introduction, but I suppose that's not always possible. But for tradition's sake: I'm Emily Hale and very glad to meet y'all. Alas, you've found me out on the Eliot point; I can't think how you would've discovered that...

Mrs. Peperium

Ah, welcome Emily Hale...Emily Hale, T. S. Eliot's true love. Or was she not? A question for the ages perhaps...or perhaps you know?

Then, there is Stearns. That would be Stearns as in Thomas Stearns Eliot, no?

My real question is who is Joseph? As in Those who know Joseph?

Is it Joseph Pieper?

Or, largely, because of the Manolo's presence (and by acquaintance, Herr Docktor Kornkrake), is it Joseph Bottum?

Mrs. Peperium

Uncle Basil, I am so disappointed. Really. Bordering upon complete black mood at this point.

All these years I thought you were Dexter. Not Uncle Willie. Why, when Dexter cocks his arm back to give the spoiled and cold-hearted Tracy one in the kisser, old Dex has me hanging on the very edge of my seat waiting for his fist to connect with her cheekbone. But then Dexter catches himself. Realising that she's not worth the blow his perfectly charming reputation will take if he actually does smack her, so he just employs the lower part of his palm to shove her to the ground.

Old Dex was yar, as they say.

So, it's Uncle Willie, huh? Well, at least he was a parfum fancier. Complete Surrender was his favorite.

Emily Hale

I imagine she was his true love, but we'll have a better idea in 2020 when Eliot's letters to Emily are finally released (I'm counting down the days...)

You're right on Stearns. The allusion to Joseph is an entirely different one. It's L.M. Montgomery (who in turn is alluding to Exodus 1:8, I think). The idea is kindred spirits.

Mrs. Peperium

Now that is a clever one!. I know exactly of what you speak in regards to Anne of Green Gables and kindred spirits. For the life of me, I cannot see how I missed it. What a perfect blockhead.

(Jeremy, take note : more Canadian connections.)

Yes, the kindred spirits is very true. The success of PP has been all about attracting and developing kindred spirits. And to see us selected among the ones you link to, is a compliment. You may not know, but Herr Docktor Kornkrake is a reader of PP. He must be very busy on his 16th book as he has not posted at his own blog in some time.


Mrs. P, for you:



Mrs. P, for you:


Andrew Cusack

"his campaigns against genetically modified food, modern architecture, carbon-copy high streets and the British education system"

Sounds good so far!

Mrs. Peperium

Sounds like a perfect bore from a tiresome old fool who is giving his country his mistress for a Queen. That is far more damaging act to a national psyche than any carbon copy high street.

Besides, this is the King who had his wedding on a high street becasue his church refused to marry him. Suddenly, he has problems with the high street? Oh, that's right, his problem is with the window dressing on the high street. Not the morals...

He does not believe morals hold countries together. He believes ethically-made sausages and ethically-raised mash does.

Andrew Cusack

"That is far more damaging act to a national psyche than any carbon copy high street."

On the contrary, it is merely a symptom of decline, not the cause of it.

Mrs. Peperium

No..no..no...if Prince Charles were an elected man, this would be true. But Prince Charles is not an elected man, he is a chosen man. Divine Right and all that monarchy hotstuff.

Prince Charles is not a moral man. His treatment of his late wife (regardless of her mental stablility) his allowing his sons to run wild with women and drink, and his choice of Queen proves what he is beyond a reasonable doubt. This is why he prattles on about how dining on ethically-raised radishes that have been properly-prepared while living in attractive buildings will cure our souls.

He would not know what virtue was if it hit him over the head.

Andrew Cusack

While your desire for everyone to be held to a high standard is admirable, I don't see the point in condemning sinners when they're actually doing good.

Mrs. Peperium

If you are employing condemning in the sense of declaring someone to be reprehensible, then I agree I am condemning Prince Charles. My condemenation has nothing to do with the state of Charles' soul.

Prince Charles is not like us. If one believes in Divine Right, then his birth was no accident. He was chosen by God to be King.

If one believe in the claims of English Church then one believes he was chosen by God to run the English Church. Good men like Thomas More, John Fisher and others were condemned to death because they did not believe this claim. They believed the King was abusing his power by putting himself in charge of the church.

Charles has abused his power by entering into a marriage that the Church he will soon oversee could not in good faith provide the sacrament of marriage to. By doing so, he has devalued his church, marriage and the Christian faith.

Oh and his son, William, is required by English law to marry a virgin. Charles appears to have forgotten to teach the lad that as well.

I understand my constant harping on this makes me the complete bore as well. Oh well...


Clearly, the Prince perceives the importance of the accidentals without understanding the foggiest thing about the essentials which make the accidentals important in the first place.

But, cannot one hope that his is a rather remarkable daftness and that others might learn to value the essentials from closer examination of the accidentals, even through in the near-sighted observations of a shabby prince?

Mrs. Peperium

Wodehouse was a prophet:


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