Friday, January 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022
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from WHAT MAISIE CHEWED (1912)

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And after the smiling, courteous service, after the quite novel shrimp toast (with petite whole shrimp nestled on the crunchiest-if a word so boldly betraying its traffic with that clangorous, brawling chaos that is American commerce may be used without blasphemy-of wafers, comme il faut); after an almost muscularly robust pu-pu platter marred only by the mindless insolence of a tasteless wonton; after the plump mushrooms arranged in some doubtlessly logical, doubtlessly geometrical pattern discernible, palpably real only to the chef, that cloistered Creator hidden midst his pots; after the delicate frisson dealt our senses, senses by then stupefied (no! the word is freighted with distaste)-not stupefied, but seduced, enthralled, by the ethereal splendor of the delicate china and the Japanese lanterns bobbing like organic things on the inverted pond that was the restaurant’s ceiling; after all this and the uncatalogueable je ne sais quoi promised by the menu, why? Why did my companion, with suddenly vacant eyes, make the most guttural of gagging sounds and (her barbaric abandon of manners the truest index of her horror) reach deep into her throat and, trembling, procure a murderous one-inch crescent of bone? The braised duck, we could only infer, is not wholly boneless.

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