By BARRY SINGER
“The cook is going,” Churchill wrote to Clementine in March 1935. “She sent in her spoon and ladle on her own account. I am very glad. She had the knack to the highest degree of making all food taste the same, and not particularly good. I subsist on soup….”
Churchill’s tastes were fairly well established. In soup: only clear broths (“it must be limpid”) or petite marmite. In seafood: oysters and caviar, lobster and dressed crab, scampi, Dover sole and trout. Meats: roast beef, shoulder of lamb, and foie gras. Pudding: Yorkshire. Cheese: Gruyère. Dessert: chocolate éclairs.
Before going to bed, Churchill was known on occasion to take a Quadroon sleeping pill. More habitually, though, he had a cup of soup made from bouillon cubes sold by Fortnum and Mason, said to contain a mild sleeping draught.
Barry Singer is the author of Churchill Style (Abrams Image, 2012) and the proprietor of Chartwell Booksellers in New York City.