Meredith’s ode to cooks
We may live without poetry, music, and art;
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But civilised man cannot live without cooks.
He may live without books — what is knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope — what is hope but deceiving?
He may live without love — what is passion but pining?
But where is the man who can live without dining?
‘Owen Meredith’, Lucile, 1860
Owen Meredith was the nom de plume of English statesman and poet Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton and son of novelists Edward Buller-Lytton and Rosina Doyle Wheeler.