“Am I sexually attractive?” I demanded. His eyes always reminded me of coffee drops, with their warm golden-brown color. Now they went completely round, enhancing the resemblance.
They they narrowed, but he didn’t answer immediately. He looked me over carefully, head to toe.
“It’s a trick question, right?” he said. “I give you and answer and one of those women’s libbers jumps out from behind the door, yells ‘Sexist pig!’ And hits me over the head with a sign that says ‘Castrate Male Chauvinists.’ Huh?”
“No,” I assured him. “A sexist male chauvinist answer is basically what I want.”
“Oh, okay. As long as we’re straight, then.” He resumed his perusal, squinting closely as I stood up straight.
“Skinny white broad with too much hair, but a great ass,” he said at last. “Nice tits, too,” he added, with a cordial nod. “That what you want to know?”
“Yes,”I said, relaxing my rigid posture. “That’s exactly what I wanted to know. It isn’t the sort of question you can ask just anybody.”
He pursed his lips in a silent whistle, then threw back his head and roared with delight.
“Lady Jane! You’ve got a man!”
Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 20)
bronze by László Kutas – photo by Bronze Gifts
Hands up: Who has asked the “How do I look?” version of Claire’s question and gotten the WRONG answer?
And just to make it clear, I do understand that the question is a mind field in the minds of men. My Englishman certainly weathered a few storms early on when his word choice or tone of voice didn’t meet my expectations.
Maybe Joe had it a little easier. Oh sure, he’s fearful of the women’s libbers, but the late 60s beauty ideal was much more inclusive than today’s. Twiggy in her skinny-mini is one thing. Near-anorexic, 15 year-old under-dressed girls, Photoshopped to anime proportions are another. The modern perception of beauty is warped and skewed to the point where brilliant, beautiful and average-sized women will tuck here and implant there, meditate on weight loss, purchase closets full of potentially dangerous weight-loss supplements AND convince themselves that fat-free sour cream not only makes sense, but also tastes good. (Which it does not. In either case.)
Now, that said, most of us could probably stand to Back Away From The Buffet and lose a pound or two after over indulging this holiday season. And that’s where The Outlander Kitchen 2012 Resolution Diet comes in! It works to boost your will power naturally — by pairing some of DG’s more graphic descriptions of the lowpoints in 18th Century cuisine with repugnant visual stimuli — in an anti-Pavlovian, gag-reflex approach to appetite suppression.
(It almost sounds scientific, doesn’t it?)
Simply pick the excerpt/picture combo that grosses you out the most, and focus until you’re salivating. In a bad way.
photo by bernatff
1. Claire’s Blood Pudding
“There’s fresh coffee made,” I said. “And bannocks with honey, too.” My own stomach recoiled slightly at the thought of eating. Once spiced, stuffed, boiled and fried, black pudding was delicious. The earlier stages, involving as they did arm-deep manipulations in a barrel of semi-coagulated pig’s blood, were substantially less appetizing.
Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Chapter 71)
photo by Sergey Yeliseev
2. King Louis’s Baby Nightingales
As though frustrated by so much rustic simplicity, though, one of the chefs had provided a charming hors d’oeuvre — a nest, cunningly built from strips of pastry, ornamented with real sprigs of flowering apple, on the edge of which perched two nightingales, skinned and roasted, stuffed with apple and cinnamon, then redressed in their feathers. And in the nest was the entire family of baby birds, tiny stubs of outstretched wings brown and crispy, tender bare skins glazed with honey, blackened mouths agape to show the merest hint of the almond-paste stuffing within.
After a triumphal tour of the table to show it off — to the accompaniment of murmurs of admiration all round — the dainty dish was set before the King, who turned from his conversation with Madame de La Tourelle long enough to pluck one of the nestlings from its place and pop it into his mouth.
Crunch, crunch, crunch went Louis’s teeth. Mesmerized, I watched the muscles of his throat ripple, and felt the rubble of small bones slide down my own gullet. Brown fingers reached casually for another baby.
At this point, I concluded that there were probably worse things than insulting His Majesty by leaving the table, and bolted.
Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 9)
photo by Père Ubu
3. Possibly Poisonous Headcheese
I had made it according to the instructions of one of the Mueller women, as translated by Jamie, but I had never seen headcheese myself, and was not quite sure it was meant to look like that. I lifted the lid and sniffed cautiously, but it smelled all right: mildly spiced with garlic and peppercorn, and no scent at all of putrefaction. Perhaps we wouldn’t die of ptomaine poisoning, though I had it in mind to invite Gerhard Mueller to try it first.
Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 22)
(I had a choice of hundreds of head cheese photos, but I had to go with the Dr. Who package, because of the roundabout role one episode played in the birth of our favourite red-headed Scotsman).
photo by mikething
4. Thieves’ Hole Slops
There was a grating sound from overhead and a sudden shaft of light. I pressed myself against the wall, barely in time to avoid a shower of mud and filth that cascaded through a small opening in the roof of our prison. A single soft plop followed the deluge. Geilie bent and picked up something from the floor. The opening above remained, and I could see that what she held was a small loaf, stale and smeared with assorted muck. She dusted in gingerly with a fold of her skirt.
“Dinner,” she said. “Hungry, are you?”
Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (Chapter 25)
photo by saragoldsmith
5. Baby Eels Slick with Butter
“The parlormaid says that His Highness Prince Charles has been paying calls on the Princesse Louise de La Tour de Rohan,” I said, plucking a single eel off the fork and chewing slowly. They were delicious, but felt rather disconcerting if swallowed whole, as though the creature were still alive. I swallowed carefully. So far, so good.
Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 7)
photo by Nesster
And just because it’s the most surreal photo of baby eels I found, I’ll leave you with this. There’s even a short story to go along with the picture — these are time-traveling baby eels. All named Ernest.
Compared to that, explaining Outlander is a breeze. 😉