i’ve been rereading the doctor dolittle books lately (unfortunately most of them are out of print now). gub-gub, the pig, is an easy favorite, and his attitude towards food is surprisingly similar to winnie’s (haha). i thought she might appreciate some wisdom from the illustrious pig himself.

on his proposed food opera:
“Certainly there are dances. … There is a napkin ballet in the first act, and a very grand ‘Waiters’ March’ in the second — besides the ‘Caper Sauce Caper’ at the finale. Oh, there are lots of good turns in the Food Opera. One of the arias is called ‘Songs My Kettle Used to Sing.’ Another is entitled ‘Poor Little Broken Pie Crust’ — very light — sung by a comic character called Popper Popover.”

gub-gub’s book is a funny little collection of anecdotes about food and gub-gub’s proposed “encyclopaedia of food”. here are some excerpts:

on britain’s eating habits:
“Now, this university had a secret eating society, or fraternity, called Sigma Eta Apple Pie — after the Greek letters, you know. … Sigma Eta Apple Pie was formed, I understand, because many people felt that the British, usually so brave and adventurous, were very undaventurous in eating. And it’s true, we are, you know — no doubt about that — always eating the same things, very few dishes, when you think of France and other countries — no eating courage at all.”

on the importance of food:
“… can’t you see … the story of food discovery is the history of the human race … How do you suppose the different races of people came to settle down where they are on the map today? Because they could get what they wanted to eat there. Or because they got pushed there by other people who wanted the same things to eat.”

on his proposed “Food Map”:
“… the food map is an important part of that chapter. … The map should be not only a great help in learning the geography of food but also for the history of food. I would like it to show all the towns where the great events in food history happened. … also the map should mark all the towns and countries that are famous for different kinds of eatables. … it will be most valuable … It tells you where to go to find different things to eat. Supposing you got up in the morning and felt like spending a nice, quiet banana weekend. All right. You just look at the map and take a boat for Central America. Perfectly simple.”

“I see what he’s getting at …” said Jip. “He’s going to have a sort of bill of fare take the place of timetables. All you’ve got to do is go to a booking office and say, ‘I want a ticket to the best pudding you have. First class, please.'”

gub-gub’s food mystery:
there’s also a great story about “Sherbert Scones, the icebox detective”, who tracks “Chillibillibeano, the Texas Pantry Bandit, ‘a thief with a taste for strawberry jam'”. eventually scones captures chilli, but only after chilli abducts scones’ lady love, “Vanilla Verbena”, famous for her rhubarb pie.


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