Nonpareils, plus book recommendation

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Sat Mar 31 17:20:28 EST 2001

Bodil (who IS a nonpareil BTW - the nonpareilest!):

>As for nonpareils, Mason consistently treats the name as a non-English
>word, writing it in italics and giving the French credit for having
>invented them and given them this French name ("unequalled"). Whatever you
>may now think of as nonpareils, they began life as a very tiny variety of
>something once called "comfits" in England. These days most of us know
>comfits as dragee: hard layers of sugar formed around a core of almond,
>nut, aniseed or something like that. Comfits are built up layer by layer in
>a gently heated, moving pan. Nonpareils are colourful, tiny comfits with a
>single grain of sugar for core.

I have always _loved_ the word "comfit".  Mind's immediately gone 
blank about exact places I'd have come across it, of course. 
Possibly Rosemary Sutcliff's _The Armourer's House_ (which I may be 
alone in liking), or far more obscure, _The Queen Elizabeth Story_ 
(which I may be alone in having read!).  Er.  Barbara Willard's 
books, conceivably, though unlikely.  Um.  _The Wool Pack_.  By 
whassername.  Anyway.

>Did I mention that Mason ends each chapter with recipes for recreating
>ancient British sweets.

What fun!  I've been thinking about food in books, since the mention 
of the Food Canning Incident in _Four-Story Mistake_, and remembering 
how many great food scenes are in those books.  And in the _Anne of 
Green Gables_ books.  I went so far as to get a book of Lucy Maud 
Montgomery's own recipes, which is fascinating, though I just read it 
more than I used it as a cook-book.  And _Farmer Boy_, though that's 
actually a bit much, even to read about. Oh, and the Betsy-Tacy 
books!  Extraordinary, the way they managed to eat all that fudge, 
and those cakes, and then the ice-cream sundaes, and stay slim.  (And 
they did.  I've seen the photos.)

Maybe that's why we all go on so much about food on the list: these 
calorific-just-to-read type of descriptions are relatively few in DWJ 


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