6 FEBRUARY 1988, Page 42


Chacun a son gout


IN Competition No. 1508 you were invited to write quatrains in praise or dispraise of a particular edible.

Ambiguity has struck again. I had in- tended you to write separate quatrains on separate edibles in the style of Richard Armour's delightful one:

The onion-eater and his brother, Though inoffensive to each other, Are by their diet alienated From those who've not participated. However, some of you quite justifiably sent me longer poems consisting of quat- rains. So I have divided the prize money happily among both sorts of entrant, allow- ing myself the liberty of cutting one quat- rain in cases of 16-liners. The first three winners printed below get f10 each, and the rest a fiver per quatrain. The bonus bottle of Hugel Riesling Reserve 1983, presented by our 'well-wisher in the Far East', is D. B. Jenkinson's.

Plaudits aplenty praise the precious Vine, It bends beneath the weight of man's esteem; I vow, then, that no rubaiyat of mine Will sanctify yet more its sorry scheme.

Rather would I convert the pagan throng, Who worship at Vine's temple, now to see The error of their ways and right the wrong, To come and sip what's good along with me.

I speak of cocoa — ah! the cocoa bean, Balm of the Faithful, giver of all hope! I'd die a chocolate soldier for my Queen, Make me some now — and some for Wendy Cope! (D. B. Jenkinson) Though diners-out delight to boast

Rare feats of gourmandise, To me at tea hot buttered toast

Is first of foods to please.

The wheaten starch just barely singed, The molten bovine fat — Lucullus surely never binged On finer food than that.

Such fare's affordable by all Thanks to the EEC; No butter glut at all need pall, Just spread your toast for tea.

(Charles Mosley) Oh, what is amiss with the Great British Crumpet, That teatime delight I was wont to adore?

It's lesser successor quite gives me the hump, it Is not the same succulent bun as before!

For even when toasted, a thin piebald ghost, it Seems such a dull discus to give to a guest. You butter it up, but you find at the most it Still looks so deflated, so down, so depressed.

No substance, mere shadow! A false little strumpet!

Its faded delights I prefer to ignore.

When offered one now I just secretly dump it, While mouthlessly mourning the Crumpet of Yore!

(T. A. Hunter) Awake! for morning in the bowl of night Has pitched the corn-flakes of thy heart's delight!

All sugar-diamonded and crunchy-crisp, Behold them swimming in their lake of white.

(Gerard Benson) Silvery sweet, sublimely sleek, Richly scrumptious Sachertorte . . .

I could eat it for a week (Though I know I didn't oughter). (Simon Townley) Of all the foods I could have cussed The worst is Winter Salad.

But quatrains? No, for my disgust I'd need a whole damn ballad. (Simon Townley)

What a dish to give a bloke — a

Bowl of crappy tapioca: Of appetite a certain killer— Pure alimentary Polyfilla.

One craving that I cannot hide, That makes me positively drool Though idiots I can't abide I always have adored a fool.

The food that I detest the most Is little things on bits of toast.

The things all topple to the deck, Or on my shirt, or down my neck. (Harrison Everard) When morning mists arise and larks are trilling, Then search for mushrooms in the pasture's spread; Pearly umbrellas lined with dove's-breast frilling. Seethe them in milk and mop your plate with bread. (June F. Langfield) Most people seem to like the pea.

I do not know why this should be.

It tastes of sugar or of naught, And not as vegetables ought. (Carolyn Beckingham) My father, who could veto any dish, Was never partial to the taste of fish.

Denied it thus, I came upon it later And blessed him, for my joy is all the greater. (Martin Fagg) (Martin Fagg) (Noel Petty)