Bowen Salad

"Planning a dinner party one hot summer evening, Elizabeth Bowen had to shop at the last minute. When I arrived, the drinks were impeccable, everything went swimmingly. After drinks, you went into another room for a stand-up dinner. And that was rather unbelievable.

"Elizabeth was notoriously near-sighted and she must have gone into some delicatessen and ordered a buffet. There was a salad that looked as if it had been briefly shampooed. The lettuce leaves had suspicious ruffles. I was standing next to her, and she tasted the salad first. She turned to me and said, 'You know, this just doesn't have that je ne sais quoi.'"

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