Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

An Epicure


Should you preserve white mice in honey
Don't use imported ones from China,
For though they cost you less in money
You'll find the Japanese ones finer.
But if Chinese, stuff them with spice,
Which certainly improves their savour,
And though the Canton mice are nice,
The Pekinese have finer flavour.

If you should pickle bracken shoots
The way the wily Japanese do,
Be sure to pluck then young - what suits
Our Eastern taste may fail to please you.
And as for nettles, cook them well;
To eat them raw may give you skin-itch;
But if you boil them for a spell
They taste almost as good as spinach.

So Reader, if you chance to be
Of Oriental food a lover,
And care to share a meal with me,
I'll add the addled eggs of plover;
And gaily I will welcome you
To lunch within an arbour sunny,
On nettle broth and bracken stew.
And nice white mice, conserved in honey.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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