Cooking for the Barbarians

J.M. Coetzee Nobel Prize Lecture

But now, reflecting further, there begins to creep into his breast a touch of fellow-feeling for his imitators. For it seems to him now that there are but a handful of stories in the world; and if the young are to be forbidden to prey upon the old then they must sit for ever in silence.
One of those stories is that of demise. Given to us by Brillat-Savarin (trans. Anne Drayton).
On the appearance of the barbarians, the culinary art vanished, together with all the sciences of which it is the companion and consolation. Most of the cooks were massacred in their masters' palaces; others fled rather than cater for their country's oppressors; and the few who stayed to offer their services had the shame of seeing them refused. Those fierce mouths and scorched gullets were insensible to gentle charms of delicate fare. Huge haunches of beef and venison, immeasurable quantities of the strongest liquors, were enough to please them; and as the usurpers never laid aside their arms, most of their meals degenerated into orgies, and he banqueting-hall was frequently the scene of bloodshed.
There is a steak house in Toronto named aptly enough Barbarian's Steak House. Where alas tartare is not on the menu.

And so for day 931