“That’s all right, then,” I said.
They took the empty snail-shells away and soon afterwards they brought on the grouse. By grouse I mean red grouse. I do not mean black grouse (blackcock and greyhen) or wood grouse (capercaillie) or white grouse (ptarmigan). These others are good, especially the ptarmigan, but the red grouse is the king. And provided of course they are this year’s birds, there is no meat more tender or more tasty in the entire world. Shooting starts on the twelfth of August, and every year I look forward to that date with even greater impatience than I do to the first of September, when the oysters come in from Colchester and Whitstable. Like a fine sirloin, red grouse should be eaten rare with the blood just a shade darker than scarlet, and at Maxim’s they would not like you to order it any other way.
We ate our grouse slowly, slicing off one thin sliver of breast at a time, allowing it to melt on the tongue and following each mouthful with a sip of fragrant Volnay.