Friday, July 12, 2013
Let him see to the substance of his cake instead of decorating with sugarplums. Fowler, Modern English Usage
Friday, April 27, 2012
The gobstopper, once described as ‘that magnificent offspring of a cannon ball and a mothball’, has been the subject of all too many trips down memory lane. Who originated the name, and when, does not emerge, but this monster co-existed with Kruger’s Whiskers, a villainous-looking mess of coconut ice and chocolate. A few years ago there were reports that the authentic, fully-fashioned gobstopper was going out of production because it was too costly to manufacture at a reasonable price. The smaller gobstoppers of today were said to cause less damage when hurled at cinema screens. According to this book, a ‘well-proportioned’ gobstopper requires a thousand successive coatings, which does not mean that it has a thousand colours and a thousand flavours. It is one of those sweets which require frequent removal from the mouth for inspection, as did a range of sweets, not mentioned here, in which progressive sucking revealed spies’ messages or a series of views of London (and how distressing to swallow the Tower of London without ever seeing it). Was the gobstopper, one wonders, ever the subject of cautionary papers in the Lancet? E.S. Turner, LRB