The New Dilettante's Notebook

Sometimes apparently genuinely helpful

I had this bloke in my cab

Sir,

My husband, T.S. Eliot, loved to recount how late one evening he stopped a taxi.  As he got in, the driver said: ‘You’re T.S. Eliot.’  When asked how he knew, he replied: ‘Ah, I’ve got an eye for a celebrity.  Only the other day I picked up Bertrand Russell, and I said to him:  “Well, Lord Russell, what’s it all about,” and do you know, he couldn’t tell me.’

Valerie Eliot, letter to The Times, on the occasion of Bertrand Russell’s death, 1970.

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Film criticism

One of the reasons that films are so bad is that producers assume that a class of picture-goer exists, stupider and slower witted and more vulgar than themselves, which would, of course, be impossible.

Anthony Powell, from “A Writer’s Notebook,” published 2001.

An introduction

To all gourmets I commend this book.  If, in these unhappy times, they cannot come to China to see to eat for themselves, this book will build for them an easy and a pretty bridge by which, from their own homes, they can reach the simple and surprising delights of Chinese cooking.

The authoress, Dolly Chow, is the daughter of Sir Shouson Chow, a well-known and much respected member of the Chinese community of Hongkong.  She has been so kind as to give me some lessons in cooking at which I had the emotion both of finding out the secrets of the Chinese kitchen and of eating the dishes as they came off the fire.  If you had seen and tasted what I did, you would agree with me that no one is better fitted than Dolly Chow to introduce you to the dressing of Chinese food.

– Maria Teresa Clark Kerr, Introduction to “Chow! Secrets of Chinese Cooking” by Dolly Chow (Mrs. C. T. Wang), 1952.