11th November 1830

Me and Eliza was talking to-day about food. Ah well, you might say, seeing as how you be a cook that's nobbut what you would expect.

But it wasn’t just about any old food we was talking, 'twas about the gentry and food.

Now I been a cook all my days and even when I went for to be scullion in my first place I was already experienced in the ways of cooking. I knew scores of recipes – not just for meat and fowl and fish, but for possets and medicinals and and all, and most of them I learned from my mother, and she from her mother and so on back down the years.

For cooks, like the minstrels of old, do have prodigious memories and this is the reason my first Cook I learned from had never learned the reading and the writing. For, said she, she was afeared that if she let all that learning into her head 'twould push out the other learning she had and she would not remember how even to make an old fashioned pease pudding!

But these days ‘tis the gentry who choose about the cooking and the half of what they choose is got from books.

Take these Volly Vonts Mistress was so keen to have me make. Now first I heard was when a receipt was passed down to me scratched out on a piece of paper – for Mistress does not know that I cannot read. Even when it got read out to me I could not make head nor tail of what they was about for I had never in my born days heard tell of such a thing.

So I asks the Housekeeper and the Housekeepr asks the Mistress and the answer comes back that they is “delicious little French morsels.”

Well, first I thought it was Frenchy mussells she meant and I wonders to myself how on earth a body could tell? It's not as though the blessed things comes out the shell waving little French flags, now is it? So I might as well go down and buy some good Brighton mussells from John Gunn by the Strand and teach them to say !’ Ooh lala!’ when served at table!

But no, a 'morsel' was what she meant and what blessed good is that to tell me what they is? A nice piece of pork pie or yet a bit of good red herring is delicious morsels too and I daresay some of them is got in France. So finally I has to put on my bonnet and go down the street to that fancy Madame Moyselle as calls herself a Lady’s Maid (though I am sure myself ‘tis many a long year since that one has been a maid). And what do these Volly Vonts turn out to be but tarts, pure and simple!

‘But’ says she ‘I hope your mistress knows that they must be served with dandylion garnish?” and then she does laugh and whinney and snort like an old carthorse until Pearce, the Butler, cries “For shame.” And explains to me her sudden mirth.

Seems Volley Vont is naught but the French word for ”Farts in the wind” which I mind is a wee bit funny and most peculiar for to name a dish. And all do know, a’course that the country name “Piss a Bed” stands for dandylion. So 'serve your farts in a bed of piss' what was she was a saying of . And very nice -I don't think – for her who calls herself an Upper Servant! So I sniffed and bid them both gooday, for twas a joke, to be sure; but I couldn’[t help but think it were aimed at my Mistress having got the name wrong.

In truth I think these ‘delicious morsels' should not be called Volly Vents, but Folly Vents for all the trouble they have caused me.