Stretching a point, whilst this isn't about food, it is an ode to wine and so falls into our wider sphere of interest…

For 50p I picked up this slim volume, The Taste of Kinloch, commemorating a century of trading in wines and spirits of Messrs Charles Kinloch (1861-1961). A little googling reveals that Charles Kinloch merged with Courage in 1957:

"One of the largest wines and spirits businesses in Britain, Charles Kinloch & Company Limited, joined the Courage Group in 1957 bringing with it a history of wine trading going back 100 years. This firm was stocking some 4,000 lines of wines and spirits, and, apart from its wholesale and retail trade, supplied outlets throughout Britain"

Now, here's the thing: nowhere have I found mention of the delightful rhyming Foreword by Sir Alan Herbert (aka A.P. Herbert, 1890-1971, humorist, author, MP and law reform activist). Here it is.

Sir Alan Herbert's Foreword:

If God gave Man no other cause to gape
We should look up to Him who made the grape:
If Man could claim no other grand design
He'd win a prize for turning it to wine.
The Art is ancient, but a gamble still -
The odds the soil, the summer, and the skill.
The gentle stuff they tenderly create
Began in granite or in fields of slate,
The precious berries impudently grow
On craggy cliffs where men can hardly go -
In danger ever, drought, disease, and frost;
It hails ten minutes and a year is lost.
Yet if they see September safe and strong
No other gift of Nature lived so long.

Herein, Misobibists, expect a shock:
'Good Queen Victoria was fond of Hock'.
Dear Mr. Gladstone liked Bordeaux, they say,
And Sherry stopped the show on Budget Day.
Nay, at its birth that famous mischief Gin
Was proffered only as a medicine.
To bed with tea old ladies wake and weep:
Whisky can keep old gentlemen asleep.
Curse the cold bureaucrats who swell the price
And treat the vine as if it were a vice!

Nor does it only for the flesh provide,
For grace and beauty in the glass reside.
The long-stored sun and sweetness of the South
Enrich the mind as warmly as the mouth.
"Water! the drink of lions!" fools may boast:
But who would have the lion for a host?
High words, loud argument, may rise from ale:
And over tea sly gossip spreads a tale.
Good wine breeds goodness - manners, mind and tongue -
And lights a lamp or two in old and young.

The names! like flowers on the Carte des Vins -
Lafite, Latour, Montrachet, Chambertin
(Napoleon's pet!) 'By any other name'
Margaux, Yquem, would not be quite the same.
And then, the solemn care, the sage advice -
The bridal bottle in its bed of ice -
The first fond taste, as if at Heaven's brink -
Such joys are not to be dismissed as 'drink'.
Later, 'The Queen!' - the port - the protocol:
But for the fools all this is 'alcohol'.
How sad the civil servants have to fine
So civilised a comforter as wine!

Let's honour KINLOCHS - for a hundred years
Distilling happiness, and drowning fears!

A.P. Herbert

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