S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen


The Nonesuch was third or fourth Georgette Heyer book I read, sometime back in early December. Heyer rarely goes into detail about what food her characters eat when they sit down at a table or encounter a buffet, but in one scene in this book she does.
The repast she set before her guests was certainly enormous, consisting of two courses, with four removes, and a score of side-dishes, ranging from a rump of beef à la Mantua, wax baskets of prawns and crayfish, to orange soufflés and asparagus, and some atlets of palates: a delicacy for which her cook was famous.
(pp. 66-67 in the 2005 Arrow Books reprint)

Now it's true, I don't know what "à la Mantua" means with regard to beef, and I'm not sure quite what the wax baskets are doing with the prawns and the crayfish. But what I really wanted to know was what on earth atlets are. I asked the OED, and it had nothing to say. I web searched, and my every effort either came up empty or was foiled by atlets being both a common misspelling for atheletes, and a perfectly good word for athletes in various other languages. My exciting new copy of The Oxford Companion to Food was of no help either.

Much as the desire to know what atlets are has been with me for a month yet, it was not quite so pressing as to send me to do serious research on the subject. At least, not yet. But it might soon.

Unless, of course, one of you - dear readers - happens to know.
Tags: food history
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