The Tale of Charles: who left his saucepan to boil over and had his circumstances greatly reduced

by Dan

I had no time to take much stock

So parodied Hilaire Belloc *

and if that isn’t to your taste

Apologies, please blame my haste


Charles Alexander Fennimore

A child, I’ve not described before,

displayed the most outrageous skill

At basting, broiling, spit and grill.

Why, even at the age of 3

His gastronomic mastery

Extended well beyond the fare

His cook and servants could prepare.

His Spatchcock liver gained renown

As far away as Canning Town.

(A destination on a bus

Which may not be salubrious

But came quite quickly to my mind

Because it sort of scanned and rhymed).

“What a lad” I hear you cry

“There’s naught to stop him riding high.”

But Charles endured the shameful fall

Of which I now must tell you all.


His fame soon spread from there to here

As it was whispered far and near

That this precocious ingénue

had caught the eye of Michel Roux

who said “he’s just the boy I want

to run my brand new restaurant.

But first I think I’ll test him out

And see what he is all about”.

So Charles made jelly from a quince

And ballotine of sprouts in mince

And Turbot wrapped in nettle stems

That day fished from the mighty Thames

And bacon fat and blackberry tart

And langoustines with rabbit heart.

With staff of merely 28

(If one includes Miss Postlethwaite).


But then upon the very day

That Michel Roux was come to stay

Charles spied a mongrel dog called Rover.

and left his sauce pans boiling over

and went to play upon the green

Forgetting his effete cuisine.

And shouting “good boy” “Run” and Fetch”

This miserable little wretch

Let carnage reign upon his hob

And only finished half the job.

The unsuspecting Chef Michel

Arrived at Charles’s kitchen hell

But sadly was a trifle late.

To save the poor Miss Postlethwaite

And several others in the team

The coroner said, “death by steam”.


Although his mother almost pleaded

He wasn’t what the great chef needed

“That child alas is just not like us

Let him join the hairy bikers”

But even they would not employ

This most obnoxious little boy.

Too late his parents set him free

From ties of high society

And let him loose to sink or swim

Even the dog deserted him.

So heed the lessons of this tale

When cooking dinner never fail

To turn the cooker dials to off

Or don’t expect to stay a toff

And like young Charles you’ll soon be found

Busking on the underground.

*an Edwardian author who

Warned naughty children old and new.