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Round boi

This picture tickled me, for some reason. It’s by Paul Gavarni (real name: Hippolyte-Guillaume-Sulpice Chevalier, hoo boy!), 1804-1866. French. Brittanica calls his late work ‘bitter‘.

Title: Revers des Médailles (1842) or Reverse of the Medal.

Caption, as near as I can make it (it’s faint): dangereux effet des pates orientales, lelles que le Rachaoul ou le Nafe d’Arabie, sur des organisations trop delicates or (as Google Translate would have it) dangerous effect of oriental pasta, such as Rachaoul or Arabian Nafe, on too delicate organizations.

Not actual pasta, I don’t think. Some kind of sweetie. I only found one reference to Rachaoul and it was a translation of a French pamphlet on agriculture from 1836:

The edible merchants [of Paris] also devise a substance called tapioca, which they advocate almost as much as the famous Rachaoul, which fattens the odalisques of the seraglio; but the tapioca itself is nothing other than cassava, which does not fatten negroes much.

The crack about negroes is not as strange as it looks, I don’t think. Cassava was a staple in Africa and Africans were, by and large, not fat.

As for Arabian nafe, no idea. Knafeh, maybe? Anyway, it’s something he eats with a spoon from a jar that comes out of a cabinet, so early Victorian pudding cups, at a guess.

July 20, 2021 — 7:42 pm
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