COLERIDGE’S PROTO-CAPPUCCINO: THE FROTH’S THE THING
CALL FOR CRACKERS
The Friends of Coleridge website www.friendsofcoleridge.com celebrates Christmas 2005 by tackling the ultimate crux of Coleridge scholarship: did the Great Man invent, in 1802, an egg-based form of our favourite frothy coffee?
One half of the white of an egg—a couple of tepid water after the egg has been beat up—Water enough to make the Coffee moist whatever it be/—Then put in the ground Coffee, (one heaped Coffee Cup to six cups of boiling water to be after put in) mix up the Coffee with the beat up egg & tepid water/then put it into the Coffee Boiler, & add boiling water in the proportion of 6 to 1—put it on a quick fire—& let it boil up, two or three times. Then throw it into the China or Silver Coffee pot thro’ a Strainer/After boil & decant the Coffee grains & use the Decantia instead of hot water the next time. (Notebooks I 1300, Dec 1802)
It is surely the verb “throw” that reveals the panache of the man, and the influence of the dynamic philosophy on his recipe. Stand aside ye lightweight celebrity chefs who think Schelling is something you do to peas!
Proposals are invited – titles of papers only - by 31 December 2005
Send to email@example.com
The following approaches are suggestions – any disciplinary angle will be considered:
• History of Science, Intellectual Property and National Rivalry: Did Coleridge introduce the cappuccino to Italy in 1805? Was it a perfidious Italian imitation that led the dying Keats to throw his food out of a Roman window in protest? Was George Stephenson’s British-made Rocket in fact the world’s first steam-driven milk frother?
• Post-colonialism: Embracing the “Decantia”: re-use of coffee dregs as symbol of re-integrated alterity.
• Feminism: Sara’s post-omelette fatigue; or, who didn’t invent Teflon before expecting his wife to clean cooked egg white out of a coffee boiler?
• The Hermeneutics of Froth: the post structuralist metaphor that leaves a sticky residue on the upper lip.
• Home Economics: It’s coffee, Bob, but not as we know it: does Robert Southey’s 1807 statement “nothing is so detestable as an Englishman’s coffee” result from a botched attempt at recycling the “Decantia”?
• Neoplatonic Allegory: On the mystic proportion 6:1. Six = Kosmos and Marriage. The One= Orphic Egg.
• New Historicism: Starbucks avant la lettre: the hegemony of branding; or, no sugar thanks, we’re abolitionists.
• Queer Theory: “couple”: uncoupling the cup; or, no sex thanks, we’re decaffeinated.