By Margaret Powell
En l. a. primera casa en que entró a trabajar como pinche de cocina, a los quince años, Margaret Powell se quedó atónita cuando le dijeron que, entre sus tareas, figuraba los angeles de planchar los cordones de los zapatos. l. a. señora de l. a. casa le prohibió, además, entregarle en mano cualquier cosa: siempre tenía que ser «en bandeja de plata». period los angeles Inglaterra de los años 20, y en ella una chica empleada en el servicio doméstico tenía que mentir a los chicos si quería encontrar novio: ellos las llamaban «esclavas».
En el piso de abajo son las memorias de una mujer sedienta de educación que no comprende que, cuando pedía un libro de l. a. biblioteca de sus señores, estos los angeles miraran incrédulos y espantados. Con el tiempo, aprendió por su cuenta y en 1968 publicó este libro, que ha sido l. a. fuente reconocida de inspiración de sequence como «Arriba y abajo» y «Downton Abbey», pero mucho más incisiva e intencionada que ellas. En el sótano, a «ellos» (como llamaban a los señores) se les hacía «una especie de psicoanálisis de cocina, sin cabida para Freud. Creo que nosotros sabíamos de l. a. vida sexual ajena mucho más de lo que él llegó a saber nunca». Penetrante en su observación de las relaciones entre clases, libre y deslenguada en los angeles expresión de sus deseos, Margaret Powell nos cuenta qué significaba para los de abajo preparar las cenas de seis platos de los de arriba. Un documento excepcional.
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Additional resources for En el piso de abajo: Memorias de una cocinera inglesa de los años 20
Even with my wide-angle lens, it’s hard to hide the fact that my kitchen is barely big enough for one person, let alone any professional equipment. And apparently my renown with this fellow wasn’t enough to overcome my kitchen’s shortcomings. Coming from America, where the average kitchen is the size of my entire apartment (and often larger), it was quite an experience learning to bake on a counter so small I had to lift one bowl up before I could set down another. I wasn’t baking so much as practicing crowd control.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (180 C). Liberally butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart (2-L) shallow baking dish. Halve the plums, remove the pits, and place them cut side down over the bottom of the baking dish. If the plums are quite large, cut them into quarters. Scatter the raspberries over the plums. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Whisk the butter and flour into the eggs until completely smooth, then add the vanilla. Whisk in ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar, then the milk. Pour the custard mixture over the fruit and bake for 30 minutes.
Simplicity meant our ingredients—fruits, nuts, and chocolates—needed to be absolutely top-notch, and sourcing the best of them was an integral part of our job. Lindsey constantly surprised me with a taste of something new and unexpected—like fresh, tender apricots gently poached in sweet Sauternes to complement their tang, or a scoop of freshly churned rose-flavored ice cream, its perfumed aroma infused with the fragrant petals she’d plucked from her dewy garden that morning. There were golden-brown biscotti with the crunch of toasted almonds, each bite releasing the curious scent of anise, and what became my absolute favorite: wedges of very dark chocolate cake, made with European-style bittersweet chocolate, which were barely sweet.