In the Soup
Bertram Wooster’s love of food continually lands him in the soup. In The Code of the Woosters (1937), for instance, Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia blackmails her nephew into stealing a silver cow-creamer by threatening to bar him from her table, where Anatole – Dahlia’s volatile but brilliant French chef – reigns supreme. Bertie’s horror at the prospect of missing out on Anatole’s superb meals ensnares him in a series of the uncomfortable and hilarious misunderstandings that are the hallmark of P.G. Wodehouse’s fiction. As in each of the Jeeves works, random, often food-centred events drive this comic plot: a collector’s irrational desire for a mundane silver dish, the persuasive power of gourmet dinners, a two-way abuse of country house hospitality. In the world of Jeeves and Wooster, portrayed in dozens of short stories and novels between 1917 and 1974, food-based hospitality is a crucial narrative catalyst.