I probably shouldn’t be telling you any of this. The G-woman scared the bejeesus out of me and consequently the whole project was put aside. This is 2005, just after my book A History of Nougat was published. It hadn’t done anything by way of sales so I was casting around for some freelance magazine work.
“Human stupidity has a long tradition,” I said without much idea whether that was true. “For example in 1567 Hans Steininger died when he broke his neck after tripping over his own beard.”
“Go on.” This is Ed Montalto, founder of Fandango Magazine where I’d once been an intern.
“Sweden had a king who ate himself to death in 1771 – the meal concluded with 14 servings of his favorite dessert hetvägg.”
“Is it poisonous?” he asked.
“No it’s some kind of cream bun served in hot milk.”
“My doctor says dairy will get you,” replied Ed dryly.
“In 1871 Clement Vallandigham, a lawyer defending a man on a charge of murder, accidentally shot himself while demonstrating how the victim might have shot himself.