A dessert without cheese (from Carl Benson’s “Table Aesthetics,” 1848)

A dessert without cheese is like a belle who has lost an eye. Various nations employ cheese in very various ways. The Italian takes it in soup, and with the national minestra of macaroni or vermicelli it is a great improvement; but with any other kind of soup, detestable. The Frenchman serves it at the other end of his dinner, among the fruit and the bon-bons. The Englishman eats it—often accompanied by salad—between the meats and the pastry; and with a very large number of Englishmen it supplies the place of pastry or dessert altogether; cheese being to John Bull what pie is to Brother Jonathan. With us ‘crackers and cheese’ are the ordinary tavern and steamboat lunch, and you may also see the traveling public devouring much cheese at tea, along with smoked beef, cake and preserves—awful catachresis of eatables! I saw with my own eyes a man do this who was then in the legislature, and has since gone abroad on a diplomatic mission. I hope he will learn better in Europe.

Carl Benson, Table Aesthetics, 1848

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