Use of English: Cloze test

PART THREE: USE OF ENGLISH

Section One: Cloze Test


Read the text below and for each numbered gap choose the letter (A, B, C or D) of the word or phrase that best suits the gap.

Cooking the books

When I first left home at the age of 20, for (31) ................. turned out to be a largely nomadic existence, my grandmother gave me a packet of salt and a piece of bread inside a small jar. There was, she told me, an old Jewish folktale about a traveler who is given such a gift by an angel to (32) ................. sure he would never go hungry. So that I too would never lack food, she wanted me to carry the jar (33) ................. luck might take me. After dwelling in countless homes in more countries than I care to remember, the jar sits now on a shelf in what I hope will be my last kitchen, a reminder that stories are not just food for the (34) ................. .


I have always been attracted to literature in which characters spend time at the stove or gather around a table. (35) ................. a child, I wanted to know more about the pie in which Peter Rabbit's father sadly ended his days and what was that mysterious substance called "jelly" that appeared so often in Enid Blyton's books and of which we, in Buenos Aires, knew nothing. When Captain Nemo serves Monsieur Aronnax a sumptuous breakfast 20,000 leagues under the (36) ................. , I too wanted to taste "what you believe to be meat [but] is nothing but fillet of turtle" and "dolphins' livers, which you might take for ragout of pork."


One summer during my (37) ................. , lost in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical Middle-earth, I came upon the Vales of Anduin, which are guarded by the Beornings. These rather unfriendly people are vegetarians: Their main dish is a wonderful kind of honey cake. I decided I had to try to make it. The house we had rented for the summer had an (38) ................. German cookbook, freckled with splattered butter and mottled with chocolate fingerprints, and in its venerable pages I found the recipe for lebkuchen. Perhaps these spicy hazelnut-honey cookies were not what Tolkien had in (39) ................. : I didn't care. I measured and mixed and cut and baked, and in the end I had a batch of Beorning cakes that allowed me to taste my way across fantastical landscapes as I (40) ................. on a lounge chair under a jacaranda tree in the garden.


When later I discovered, in The Aeneid, that those who descend into the underworld must (41) ................. the three-headed guardian dog Cerberus with honey cakes, I remembered my lebkuchen and felt I knew exactly what spicy taste had silenced the barking monster. Context and (42) ................. mix in my imagination, and the taste of food eaten by one of the characters in the book I'm reading brings me, so to speak, into that fictional world.


And so I eat my way through books. My children know this weakness and have (43) ................. unfair advantage of it. After we started reading The Wind in the Willows, they convinced me (it didn't take much) to have a picnic like the one which Mr. Rat offers his new friend, Mr. Mole, and one sunny Toronto day we carefully packed "a fat, wicker luncheon basket" with "coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresss
andwigespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater," exactly according to the text.
The children's hardest request, however, was for a meal described in one of the Tarzan books, which (44) ................., among other things, of a stewed elephant's foot. Obviously, we weren't going to prepare (45) ................. monstrous thing, but I did find a recipe for the dish in Alexandre Dumas's Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, which begins: "Take one or several young elephants' feet...."