culinaria eugenius in london: researching

I’ve been in London for the past week, completely sans camera, thanks to a slip of the mind that left my battery recharger at home.  Oh well.  I did manage to shoot a few London images, but the camera died before I could upload them.  They only tell the story of 12-hour days in the archives and peripheries, though, so it’s not really that interesting.

I’ve been tracking down materials on two types of secrets: the hidden places where Londoners used to buy sex books and “rubber goods” (everything from condom to enema equipment to hernia belts and medicines) and the hush-hush ways in which commercial food was cut, supplemented, colored, and freshened.  The latter is truly, utterly disgusting.  The former just sad.

The picture is of two products mentioned in Joyce’s Ulysses, both wonders of late 19th century food manipulation: an early version of beef bouillon and iron pills for anemia.  They’re two of a fascinating collection of such artifacts at the Zurich James Joyce Foundation.

I’m kind of feeling like that dessicated soup; today is my only day off in several weeks, and the next few days will be ruined by intercontinental travel and jet lag.  I should really be writing to solidify some ideas before my brain goes to mush.  Deadlines approach.  Maybe a shower will make me hot and beefy again.

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