Archive for January 11th, 2016

Monday, 11 January 2016

Apple-Pye. A Poem by Leonard Welsted

Of all the Delicates which Britons try,
To please the Palate, or delight the Eye;
Of all the several Kinds of sumptuous Fare,
There’s none that can with Apple-Pye compare,
For costly Flavour, or substantial Paste,
For outward Beauty, or for inward Taste.

When first this Infant-Dish in Fashion came,
Th’ Ingredients were but Coarse, and rude the Frame;
As yet, unpolish’d in the Modern Arts,
Our Fathers Eat brown Bread instead of Tarts:
Pyes were but indigested Lumps of Dough
Till Time and just Expence improved ’em so.

King Col (as Ancient British Annals tell)
Renown’d for Fidling, and for Eating well,
Pippins in homely Cakes with Honey stew’d,
Just us he Bak’d, (the Proverb says) he Brew’d.

Their greater Art succeeding Princes show’d,
And modell’d Paste into a neater Mode;
Invention now grew lively, Palate nice,
And Sugar pointed out the Way to Spice.

But here for Ages unimprov’d we stood,
And AppIe-Pye was still but homely Food;
When God-like Edgar of the Saxon Line,
Polite of Taste, and studious to refine,
In the Disert perfuming Quinces cast,
And perfected with Cream the rich Repast.
Hence we proceed the outward Parts to trjm,
With Crinkumcranks adorn the polish’d Brim;
And each fresh Pye the pleas’d Spectator greets
With Virgin-Fancies, and with new Conceits.

Dear Nelly, learn with Care the Pastry-Art,
And mind the Easy Precepts I impart:
Draw out your Dough elaborately thin,
And cease not to fatigue your Rolling-Pin:
Of Eggs and Butter see you mix enough:
For then the Paste will swell into a Puff,
Which will in crumpling Sounds your Praise report,
And eat, as Housewives speak, exceeding short.
Rang’d in thick Order, let your Quinces lie;
They give a charming Relish to the Pye.
If you are wise, you’ll not Brown Sugar slight,
The Browner (if I form my Judgment right)
A Tincture of a bright Vermeil will shed,
And stain the Pippin, like the Quince, with Red.

When this is done, there will be wanting still
The just Reserve of Cloves and Candy’d Peel;
Nor can I blame you, if a Drop you take
Of Orange-Water, for Perfuming-sake.
But here the Nicety of Art is such,
There must not be too little, nor too much:
If with Discretion you these Costs employ,
They quicken Appetite; if not, they cloy.

Next, in your Mind this Maxim firmly root,
Never o’ercharge you Pye with Costly Fruit:
Oft let your Bodkin thro’ the Lid be sent,
To give the kind imprison’d Treasure vent;
Lest the fermenting Liquors, mounting high,
Within their brittle Bounds disdain to lie,
Insensibly, by constant Fretting, waste,
And o’er inform the Tenement of Paste.

To chuse your Baker, think, and think agen,
(You’ll scarce One Honest Baker find in Ten:)
Adust and bruis’d, I’ve often seen a Pye,
In Rich Disguise and Costly Ruin lie,
While the rent Crust beheld its Form o’erthrown,
Th’ exhausted Apples griev’d, their Moisture flown,
And Syrup from the Sides ran trickling down.

O be not, be not tempted, Lovely Nell,
While the hot-piping Odours strongly smell;
While the delicious Fume creates a Gust,
To lick th’ o’reflowing Juice, or bite the Crust.
You’ll rather stay (if my Advice may Rule)
Until the Hot is temper’d by the Cool;
O! first infuse the luscious Store of Cream,
And change the Purple, for a Silver Stream;
That smooth Balsamic Viand first produce,
To give a Softness to the tarter Juice.

From: Welsted, Leonard, Epistles, Odes, Etc. Written on Several Subjects with A Translation of Longinus’s Treatise on the Sublime, 1724, J. Walthoe: London, pp. 69-74.

Date: 1704

By: Leonard Welsted (1688-1747)