The few days I spent at Jutogh, the first of Shimla's cantonments (built in 1843), brought back a rush of happy childhood memories spent in far-flung provincial cantts—the spit-and-polish order, evenings by racquet and pool, the click of mah jong tiles and tombola on Sunday mornings. Above all, the weekly treat of "mess food". Little has changed, except the food, which is barely passable. When I pointed this out, I was instructed to read Penelope Chetwode's excellent account of a journey on mule-back from Shimla to the upper reaches of Kulu. She was the daughter of a commander-in-chief of the Indian army and wife of John Bejteman, the poet. Throughout her long trek she complains of resthouse food in Himachal, dismissing it finally as DDD—"Damned Dull Dal".