Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Duchess Was Right

Assailed as we are with health messages of the 'bacon will kill you', 'fat is bad for you', 'fat is good for you', 'kim chee is a wonder food, 'quinoa tastes disgusting but is magnificently healthy' et cetera, et cetera kind, it was with some surprise that my husband realised quite suddenly yesterday evening that pepper is something no-one has ever warned us against.

Salt, yes; cream, certainly, (or possibly not after all, judging by very recent reports, hurray); salami, practically poison really; sausages, ditto, (well they are salami in English almost aren't they?); cream buns, horrifying lurking dangers - well, I could go on.

But pepper has never, so far as I know, been spoken of in disapproving tones by health authorities. Which is something to rejoice about - or, at the very least, breathe a sigh of relief about, while thinking of how we can join the baby belonging to the Alice in Wonderland Duchess and 'thoroughly enjoy the pepper when he [we] pleases [please]'.

And, since we are on the subject of pepper, let us not forget Peter Piper, the most well-known pepper picker of all time. He gets a  mention at the end of this very clever and funny little piece about his wife, who sells seashells, (by the seashore). It comes from episode 2 of the series now running on BBC Radio 4 of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme:


  1. The narrator's aunt in Philip Roth's novella Goodbye, Columbus objects to pepper because she has read that it is not digested, but passes through the body unchanged. This offend her sense of thrift, and so there is no pepper on the table in that household. But as far as the novella goes, she never sets up as an authority on health.

    1. That is great. I admire P Roth but haven't read Goodbye Columbus - I wonder if, in fact, it really does not get digested.