NEWHAM-DAVIS.   LIEUT.-COL.     - A gastronomic tour of London 1914.
TO LONDON. BY LIEUT.-COL. NEWHAM-DAVIS. Author of 'The Gourmet's Guide to Europe" (small printer's device). LONDON GRANT RICHARDS LTD. PUBLISHERS
FIRST EDITION: 1914. 165 X 110 mm. 1fep. Half-title. Verso has frontis. Tissue guard then Title page. [1] 1p. Aphorism of Brillat Savarin. [1] 1p TO ALL GOOD GOURMETS. [1] ix - x Preface. xi - xiv Contents. xv List of four illustrations. [1] 1 - 386. 2feps. The text block very clean. Bound in a maroon cloth with gilt text on spine and front cover with bright gilt cartoon figure of a Maitre de Hotel. The whole book in excellent condition.
- Newham-Davis was an avid gastronome who checked out and dined at a huge number of London's eateries, hotels and restaurants. This was the time when Escoffier was ensconced at the Carlton Hotel on the corner of Haymarket and Pall Mall. One of the four illustrations in the book is a famous photograph of Escoffier, (see image #3 below) with a signed dedication to Newham-Davis [N-D]. One of the questions N-D was frequently asked is where is the best place in London to dine. He further states that he always replies with another question; "whom are you going to take out to dinner, because there are so many 'best places', If a man answers that he wishes to entertain some bachelors of his own ripe age and taste, where the food is excellent, the rooms comfortable and no band to interfere with conversation, then the diagnosis is a Cafe Royal one. Very astute. For a City Banquet he recommends on page 308 the Mercers Hall as most of his forbears had been of that guild. He explains in the beginning that he drank 1884 Pommery at one banquet and that his great-great-uncle who was Lord Mayor and Grandfather who was a very peppery and litigious old gentleman. His great uncle was in turn once the Master of the Company. On page 313 N-D goes to introduce himself the famous Mrs Rosa Lewis. She was known as the 'Queen of Cooks and the proprietress of the Cavendish Hotel that occupied three houses, 81 to 83 Jermyn St. He is given a shock on meeting Mrs Lewis. Due to his assumption that his family cook, whom he describes as a portly lady given to wearing church-going attire, he gets a huge shock on meeting Rosa Lewis. His vague ideas are shattered and sent spinning when a slim, graceful lady with a pretty oval face and charming eyes with hair just touched with grey. (see image #5 below). Her culinary skills were highly prized by Edward V11 with whom she was also rumoured to have had an affair. She tells N-D that her whole kitchen brigade consists of girls, believing that having accomplished woman cooks in the kitchen was far more preferable than having male chefs. She also tells of a dish of Quail pudding that is a big favourite of the KIng. N-D finally explains to Mrs Lewis that he considers she holds an equal and parallel position in the kitchen to that of the great French Maitre-Chef, Escoffier. Rosa replied that she admired him not only as a great cook but also as a great gentleman. This is an absorbing book of abundant factual detail, written very well by Lieut- Col Newham-Davis. He appears too be very well connected and a fascinating diligent net-worker. There is a slight gossipy edge to his observations that hold the attention admirably.

click on image to enlarge

Modern category
ref number: 11288