I just had to emerge from my silence and share this with everyone. I've been reading a food writing classic, 'The Pleasures of the Table' by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. First published in 1825, it's a collection of writings on all things foodie, and it reads like a series of lectures that a visiting French philosopher might have delivered in Exam Schools in the 19th century. One can only dream...
Anyway, there is much in this book that's humorous and has literally made me laugh out loud (cf. the account given by a lady who is left alone with her husband's friend, one night after everyone had feasted on truffles at dinner). The part I wanted to share, though, is this.
"Are Truffles Indigestible?
It only remains for us to discover whether the truffle is indigestible.
Our answer will be in the negative.
This official and final decision is founded:
1. On the nature of the actual subject of our inquiry (the truffle is easy to masticate, weighs very little, and is neither hard nor tough);
2. On our own observations, conducted over more than fifty years, in the course of which we have never seen a single truffle-eater suffering from indigestion;
3. On the evidence of the most famous practitioners in Paris, which is a city of gourmands, and eminently trufflivorous;
4. And lastly, on the daily conduct of the legal fraternity, who, all things being equal, consume more truffles than any other class of citizens; witness, among others, Doctor Malouet, who used to eat enough of them to give an elephant indigestion, but who nevertheless lived to the age of eighty-six."
Sadly, Brillat-Savarin wasn't able to make his inquiry really thorough, by asking the question: does the daily conduct of the legal fraternity give Truffle indigestion? Responses on a postcard. (No prizes for the correct answer.)
If you fancy reading about Madame Name Unknown and Monsieur Verseuil, have a look at page 38 of the book.