Since You Asked…

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In response to recent queries about how all of this staggeringly incredible time travel is possible, I reached for my copy of the book entitled A Visitor’s Guide to Time Travel and found a sensible explanation of it all in the chapter called “Time Travel and Parallel Universes Explained for Curious Individuals”.

According to this most definitive book, we live in an infinite assortment of wiggly-squigiggly multiverses that exist all at once. “Parallel” doesn’t even come into the equation and is merely a myth that arose from those who can only think along the same lines.

The multiverses are mostly made of Infinity and stretch outwards, inwards, forwards and backwards. To further muddle matters, everything exists all at once everywhere and every-when. Once set in motion, every fragment of reality never ceases to exist, they just are and they even look forward to your visits!

Time travel between multiverses isn’t liner but more like doing the hokey pokey. It requires one to put the right foot in, then take the left foot out (that is the particularly tricky part that requires a lot of practice) and then you shake it all about. You turn yourself around and, well…that’s what it’s all about.

Oh, and you have to be holding an InterContinuum Photographic Chroniclelizer that has first been switched on (otherwise you are simply performing some light calisthenics). With such, you don’t really travel to but rather snuggly blend into the alternate world of your choosing.

You must repeat the whole thing over again when you want to go home. I strongly urge the time traveler to find a private area to perform what is required to return to one’s own actuality in order to avoid the perplexed gazes from people or small animals nearby.

All of those brilliant minds trying to reconcile the mathematical inconsistencies that currently exist between quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity could definitively sort everything out with a just couple of dance lessons.

And now back to a more monumentally important subject…cheese.

Memories of Gruyere

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Although it was still storming back in 1816 outside of Lord Byron’s Villa Diodati, I returned to my own timeline and into a warm library with a soft, first snowfall taking place outdoors. The pungent smell of Gruyere from Byron’s buffet table was still fresh in my memory.

Those savory little pastries served to his guests that blustery night appeared to be Gougères – delicious, small, hollow pastry puffs made of a rich egg, butter and cheese dough. Byron’s chef had wisely chosen to use Gruyere cheese in his creation.

Seated at my library desk, I began my search for a period recipe for them and reached for the book L’Art de la cuisine française au dix-neuvième siècle by Chef Marie-Antoine Carême. This book is undeniably a triumphant culinary work of encyclopedic proportions.

Careme was a legend in his own time and took his celebrity chef status very seriously – cooking for Kings, a Czar and at least one Emperor. As a test to his creativity, he once prepared a years worth of menus using only seasonal ingredients with no repetitions. His cookbook was a fine first choice but a little over the top. I instead decided to explore an earlier work.

I turned to The Art of French Cookery written by Antoine Beauvilliers – a classic of French gastronomic literature written in 1814. Beauvilliers was both a chef and trendsetter, who very cleverly launched the splendid idea of a “restaurant”. His establishment, La Grande Taverne de Londres, opened in late 18th century Paris and was considered very cool; for up until then, nobody had come up with the notion of customers being able to visit a chic dining room and order from a menu what one wanted to eat. Sheer profitable brilliance!

Antoine Beauvilliers was a charismatic kind of guy who really enjoyed his own cooking. He was a savvy dresser and partial to wearing a sword. Charming and also armed with a memory like that of an elephant, Beauvilliers was known for never forgetting a guest who had visited his restaurant. Superb branding actually and his dashing choice of weaponry probably contributed to minimizing guest complaints. Not that he would get any, his food was considered delicious. Jean Brillat-Savarin, the founding father of gastronomy, regarded him as the finest of the early restaurateurs.

I made a note to myself to go back and visit this trendsetting restaurant in Paris one day – I admit to a weakness for elegant eating establishments with full wine cellars.

But now back to my search for a particular recipe, I had chosen my cookbook well. I found exactly what I was looking for on page 221…

Of Cheese Toast and Ghosts


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There is a well recognized adage – never deny an Englishman his Cheese Toast. Ever. It seems that Lord Byron was no exception to this rule. Somewhere in the massive quantity of luggage that he had hauled with him to Lake Geneva, he managed to find a small space to wedge this beautiful toasting fork that now lay in front of the fire. I wasn’t surprised. Lord Byron was an unapologetic over-packer. Overloaded with a vast quantity of must-have paraphernalia, his carriage chronically broke down as it made its way across Europe on the way to Lake Geneva. Apparently, you can take Lord Byron out of England, but couldn’t take England out of Byron – he needed his Cheese Toast.

And now this long-handled fork rested upon a trivet in front of the low flames and was quietly toasting a small, skewered piece of bread a delectable golden brown. It seemed a cozy choice for the poets to eat while listening to ghost stories.

A wedge of cheese (Raclette, I believe) sat nearby, softening to an optimal consistency. The melted side of the cheese closest to the fire would be scraped off and spread over the toast. Perfection in its simplicity. A decanter of Sack, or Sherry, rested close at hand as an excellent partner for the cheese. Alas, this charming treat had been completely forgotten when the group made their way upstairs to their beds.

It was hard to pass up such a delicious morsel, but I was curious to see what was in the room next door. I turned my back to the fire and made my way to the hall.