Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eating with Emperors

For Chinese New Year I was gifted with a lovely voucher book voucher from Richard (Yena's twin) and with the announcement of Borders being placed in receivership, I decided to get a move on and make a few purchases. One of the books I purchased was 'Eating with Emperors' by Jake Smith. As you can see it is beautifully presented and features both illustrations, photographs, menus, recipes and insider accounts to take your into the world of the nobility.

I found the process of preparing a whole wild boar's head for Queen Victoria's table fascinating. Can you imagine having the luxury of using two to three black truffles? Truffles can cost up $3,500 a kilo and with each truffle weighing on average between 30 - 60 grams that could easily equate to $210 a piece! The other thing that amused me was the numerous mentions of aspic. As a child I found tins of cat food with the label 'Pilchards in Aspic' hilarious (use your imagination). Aspic is jelly made from meat stock and its inclusion in royal cuisine is credited to french chef Antonin Carême. It is notoriously difficult to make and I'm happy to continue to avoid it least I lapse into a fit of giggling. I'm still chewing my way through this book but it's a delight and a must read for the historical foodie!

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