M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf. 1942
Making bread is a great thing. The only drawback M.F.K. Fisher could find was that it takes a lot of time. The no-knead bread recipes essentially eliminate the time element so there really is no reason not to make bread anymore. Here's a photo of the loaf from yesterday. I sometimes make it, but P is getting really good at this.
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Datus Proper first brought my attention to M.F.K. Fisher's writing in his own book Pheasant's of the Mind: A Hunter's Search for a Mythical Bird.. In that book, he frequently and reverently refers to her translation of Brillat-Savarin's The Physiology of Taste.
In Proper's pheasant hunting book he puts forth the proposition that a man should own one good shotgun and that a month's salary is not an unreasonable figure to account for it. A suggestion I found shocking when I read it and somehow still do; a month's salary has never been available to me for such a purchase. For himself, Proper followed his own advice. He hunted a side-by-side sidelock shotgun made by James Woodward. A London best gun made some time just before the turn of the last century. A quick search reveals that only Woodward side-by-side I can find listed on the internet right now (it is sold) was priced at $28,500. I'm fairly certain that Mr. Proper, who was a Foreign Service officer in the State Department never made that amount in one month, so I guess his strategy turned out to be a pretty good investment too.
|A 12 GA sidelock made by James Woodward & Sons.|
|Barrel markings on my 12 ga. Jeffery boxlock.|
Standard 12 gauge shells are 2 3/4". The fact that it is chambered for non-standard shells meant the price was a bit lower than it might have been. A standard upland field load for a 2 3/4" shell is 1 1/8 oz. of shot. The standard load for a 2 1/2" shell is 1 oz. of shot which also happens to be the standard load for a 2 3/4" 16 gauge shells. A shotgun chambered for the British 2 1/2" 12 gauge shell is quite comparable to a 16 gauge shotgun. The difference is that a 1oz. load from a 12 gauge barrel packs a bit more of a punch. The ballistic advantage comes from the fact that the shot itself leaves the larger diameter barrel in a shorter shot column, it is not quite a strung out as it is leaving the smaller diameter 16 gauge barrel.
|The action and top lever shows some case coloring, and probably has been refinished.|
|Scroll engraving with Rosettes on the screws.|
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A few years ago, running up a steep hillside to get into position for a shot at a grouse Erdős was pointing, I slipped on a snow covered log. My arms went out, the Jeffery was in my right hand, and I hit it damn hard on the log. It put a pretty good gash in the otherwise delicate forend and I was surprised it did not break it. I would not be surprised if that fall was responsible for the scratch in the engraving (it is just visible if you enlarge the image above.) Since then I have been a bit more careful about the kind of hunting I do with it. That was about the time I personalized my 20 gauge Citori so that I had a more pedestrian gun for rough conditions like Chukar hunting. To me, it is unacceptable to put the Jeffery away in the safe and not use it, it is a fine tool perfectly designed and expertly built for its intended use. But there is a balance between using it an caring for it, I don't so much own my 105 year old shotgun, it's more that I'm the current caretaker.
|A really good loaf - open crumb, large hole structure, crispy crust, great flavor.|
So how does one get from bread to guns and back again? These are the well trod paths of my autodidact mind.