The Modern Esophagus.

From the diaries of Ernest F., gourmand:

Bavaria, August 11th, 17—

I have come to stay with my brother Victor in his quarters at the University of Ingolstadt. While he is pursuing the study of natural philosophy and chemistry, still greatly consumed by grief over the death of our mother from fever, I have turned my attention in an equal degree to the study of the culinary arts.

I was inspired to take up this pursuit during my stay in Paris where I became acquainted with M. Carême, whom I heard to deliver a panegyric upon diet. Upon consideration of the wisdom of the ancients he did say, “That which we consume so becomes us.”

I was so enervated by this I was barely able to rest that evening, though it pleased me to see my brother Victor was similarly excited by a lecture on chemistry. By degrees, after the morning’s dawn, sleep came. I awoke, and my yesternight’s thoughts were as a dream. There only remained a resolution to study the art of food.

That day I paid a visit to M. Carême and was treated to a most excellent luncheon. My appetite was so great I left not a jot of what was placed in front of me, causing M. Carême to immediately recommend me for membership in his Sodality Of The Unblemished Dish. We then fell into a lengthy discussion of interesting experiments with bread conducted by an English Earl named Montagu.

From this day culinary studies, and particularly spices and seasonings, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation.

August 27th, 17—

My studies in cuisine have continued apace. I soon became so ardent and eager that the stars often disappeared in the light of morning whilst I was yet engaged in my kitchen, causing many neighbors to inquire as to what is being concocted; though whether this is due to my experiments or those of Victor, who is as ardent a worker in his laboratory in the lower section of our house as I am with the stove, is not clear.

September 5th, 17—

Having acquired several spices, not merely parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme but also chervil, and chives, I have begun experiments with sauces. One of the phenomena which had peculiarly attracted my attention was the structure of the human tongue. Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of taste proceed?

September 15th, 17—

I am barely able to contain myself. A shipment arrived today of many exotic spices, among them nutmeg and cloves brought from the East by Portuguese traders, a quantity of bark from cassia or “cinnamon”, cardamom, anise, and fenugreek.

September 29th, 17—

Victor has been spending much time in charnel houses and tonight came home with a rather fine human leg. My devotion to my craft is such that I immediately considered ways it might be prepared for table. Victor seemed concerned, and pushed me away, saying it was for his own experiments. He is now accompanied by a wild-eyed hunchback who assists him. Perhaps I should also have an assistant.

October 5th, 17—

A corpulent gourd has been sent to me with tarragon procured from the American colonies, together with mallow and vanilla, and Jamaica pepper from the Antilles.

October 12th, 17—

Victor speaks much of flesh. I cannot allow myself to be distracted. M. Carême sends word he is concerned by my absence.

October 18th, 17—

Eureka! Inspired by disjointed ramblings that have reached me from Victor’s laboratory I have found a combination of spices that, when combined with the flesh of the American gourd, are positively ambrosial. I rush to share this discovery with M. Carême.

October 19th, 17—

Carême has shared my spice mix with a patisserie, and it has spread thence to a coffee house. This is not what I intended.

October 21th, 17—

A familiar odor reached my nostrils as I passed a tavern. I was sick, dismayed beyond belief, to find my creation imbibed in beer.

October 25nd, 17—

I regret that I have committed the offence of injuring a street hawker, but to see my creation sold not as comestible but soap—-!

October 31st, 17—

It is with the utmost terror and loathing that I see how my concoction has spread not only to coffee houses but to all manner of applications. O! God in Heaven! What have I done? I have unleashed pumpkin spice upon the world and I shall be forever damned for it!

I only hope my brother Victor will redeem the name of Frankenstein.


Facebook Comments


  1. BarbaraM

    As usual, you had me at the edge of my seat. Until I fell off it at the end. This was wonderful.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you. I wondered how this would go over, but I’m glad it was worth sticking with until the end.

  2. Ann Koplow

    Thank goodness we are also what we read, Chris. Now I am wonderful, like this.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m glad we’re in Ingolstadt together on this.


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