“Then never mind the gestures,” Mason told him. “We want two thick steaks medium rare, lots of lyonnaise potatoes, some buttered bread, with -” He glanced expectantly at Della Street.
“Garlic,” Mason said.
–A Perry Mason Mystery; The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink, Erle Stanley Gardner
Erle Stanley Gardner was the best-selling American author of the 20th century, at the time of his death in 1970, he was responsible for over 80 Perry Mason titles including the wonderfully named:
The Case of the Blonde Bonanza
The Case of the Sulky Girl
The Case of the Lucky Legs
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop
And of course, The Case of the Moth-eaten Mink
His character Perry Mason was a criminal defence lawyer. What typically happened was that Mason establishes his client’s innocence by implicating another character, who then confesses. Hardly novel, I know; but it appeared to work very successfully. Incidentally, the name Perry Mason came about after when as a child, Gardner was an avid reader of the magazine Youths Companion published by the Perry Mason Company . When Gardner created his fictional lawyer, he borrowed the name of the company which published his favourite childhood magazine.
What makes the Perry Mason books unusual in their canon is that they usually involved two solutions: one in which the authorities believed (wherein Mason’s client was guilty) and an alternative explanation (wherein Mason’s client was innocent). The second half of each novel is devoted to a courtroom scene, during which the heroic Mason arrives at the alternative explanation and saves the day.
Somewhat unfairly dismissed as pulp fiction, one has to admire the sheer variety of the different people, circumstances and of course Gardner`s ingenuity in contriving the details of all his cases.
Gardner’s name is well-known among avid cruciverbalists (crossword solvers), due to his first name having an unusual pattern of common letters, and somewhat unsurprisingly, few other famous people rejoice in the name Erle. According to The Sun, so it must be true, as of January 2012, he is noted for having the highest ratio (5.31) of mentions in The New York Times Crossword puzzle to mentions in the rest of the newspaper among all other people since 1993.
Enough of this nonsense, back to the food.
So with your best Raymond Burr impression chop up a couple or three of spuds, parboil them…and then
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and then saute the onion, add two tablespoons of parsley, liberally sprinkling pepper on top.
Once the onion is transparent, add the potatoes ( parboiled and cubed), and stirring constantly, cook until it all starts to turn golden in areas.
Serve and eat whilst watching yet another Perry Mason re-run on the television.