Starved of the internet for a week on my return to Sydney, I focused my time at Borders instead. There, I chanced upon a rather quirky book, Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany, which contains some of the most interesting and irrelevant bits of trivia related to food & drink.

I bought the thing and loved every bit of it. The inane langauge, the design, the nonsensical trivia, it was all exceedingly exciting if I do say so myself. Its really the sort of book that an English dandy might read for a laff which is probably why I like it so.

As an example of the contents within, I will now flip randomly (we all know it ends up somewhere in the middle anyway) through the book and pluck one choice bit of information.

Ahem.

“To wash decanters.

Rinse the decanter with warm water, then half fill it with hot soapsuds and add one teaspoonful of washing soda. Insert shreds of newspaper torn in small pieces. Let stand for half an hour, occasionally shaking. Empty, rinse with hot water, drain, wipe the outside, and let stand to dry inside.”

Other inclusions in this handy book include an Address to the Haggis by Robert Burns, c.1786, in the Standard-Habbie stanza form and also the differences between Brimmers, Bumpers, Buzzes, Back-handers & Bishops.

Schott’s is irreverantly British, with constant references to the UK, British authors, poets and the like. It also includes the odd smattering of more modern stuff, like a list of Homer Simpson’s Mmmm….s, the color of Smarties and Anthony Bourdain’s thoughts on Durian.

Apparently, there are also a couple of other books, including Schott’s Original Miscellany and Schott’s Sporting, Gaming & Idling Miscellany. I think, armed with all 3, I might just pass muster in some rarefied gentleman’s club despite my spiky Japanese waxed hair and stinky unwashed raw denim. Or at least, I’d be filled with useless quotations.

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