This period is not obscurely hinted at by their great Confucius in the second chapter of his Mundane Mutations, where he designates a kind of golden age by the term Cho-fang, literally the Cooks’ holiday.
I love to taste them, as it were, upon the tongue of my friend.
Though hitherto overlooked in social histories of cookery, Charles Lamb's essay approaches its subject through the new literary-culinary writing that appeared with European romanticism.
(1) Thus the declarations of the Old Testament's Elijah and the New Testament's Lamb are combined and diminished in the multi-referential ironym's all-too-human voice.
Lamb's strategy is not to ridicule the vices and follies of mankind from a position of superior virtue, but to inhabit and impersonate those weaknesses in his Elia-pseudonym.
By bursting pretensions and snobbery, Lamb's essay thus self-reflexively presents itself as a figurative equivalent to the "superhuman plot" of Fawkes.
********** During the early 1820s Charles Lamb contributed a series of ironically self-revelatory essays to The London Magazine, hiding his personal frustrations beneath the witty facade of "Elia," his persona.This 1932 edition is illustrated by Wilfred Jones (born 1888), with pochoir color. The piece begins: Mankind, says a Chinese manuscript, which my friend M.Note the red-haired figure at the top left with the monogram G. was obliging enough to read and explain to me, for the first seventy thousand ages ate their meat raw, clawing or biting it from the living animal, just as they do in Abyssinia to this day.Lamb was always punning, not least on his own name.If he is Elia (i.e., Elijah, whose name means "Jehovah is God"), he is also "the Lamb of God" (John , 36), the pure and innocent sacrifice.Exploring the joys of food and also our complicated social relationship with it, these essays are by turns sensuous, mischievous, lyrical and self-mocking.Filled with a sense of hunger, they are some of the most fascinating and nuanced works ever written about eating, drinking and appetite.%%%A rapturous appreciation of pork crackling, a touching description of hungry London chimney sweeps, a discussion of the strange pleasure of eating pineapple and a meditation on the delights of Christmas feasting are just some of the subjects of these personal, playful writings from early nineteenth-century essayist Charles Lamb.In "Grace before Meat" (1821) Elia says he admires the Quakers because "I have observed their applications to the meat and drink following [grace] to be less passionate and sensual than ours.They are neither gluttons, nor wine-bibbers as a people." (2) This echo of Proverbs -21 links the topics of "Drunkard" and "Pig": "Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty." Moreover, both Matthew and again Luke record that when Christ broke bread with the joyful, he was called a winebibber and a glutton.Although he was breezily inconsistent in the "autobiographical' facts he allowed his persona to divulge, Lamb achieved a reasonably consistent profile for his pseudonym in terms of Elia's harmlessly eccentric appeal--with the exception of two back-to-back London essays, "Confessions of a Drunkard" and, his most famous Elia-essay, "A Dissertation upon Roast Pig." "Drunkard" (originally, 1813) became an Elia-essay only belatedly, upon its reprinting in the London in August 1822; "Roast Pig" appeared the following month, September 1822.Although Elia never hesitates to express everywhere his idiosyncratic likes and dislikes, in these two narratives the persona passes beyond eccentricity to become a morally delinquent and profligate figure, hedonistically addicted to immoderate drink and food.