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Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver: Stories of Dinner as a Work of Art Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 29, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (October 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743222024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743222020
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,964,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"To dine is not merely to eat," says Carolin C. Young, whose Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver explores dinner as social document--the ambiance, manners, diners, settings, and cooking of 12 feasts spanning 900 years of European history. These meals, which Young dubs art, range from Peter the Venerable's 11th-century Clunic feast in Burgundy to a 20th-century surrealistic picnic, and include dinners populated by the likes of Casanova, Titian, George Bernard Shaw, and Salvador Dali.

The premise is a fascinating one--who wouldn't be interested in the introduction of the fork, for example, or the arrival of turkeys in the Old World from the New? Unfortunately, Young seems compelled to tell everything she's learned. This results in meandering scene setting and lengthy digressions (for example, a chapter on Count Heinrich von Brüel's 18th-century feast halts over an investigation of Meissen porcelain) that drain her narratives of interest. The book's contextual "wealth" also makes some of the dinners, sometimes insufficiently documented by history anyway, seem more ghostly than they otherwise might. (Lacking specifics, the menus themselves are also sometimes evoked in terms of typical period fare.) In addition, Young is given to observations that are suspect ("But once the idea of hell reached its creative zenith with Dante's Inferno, fascination with gluttony began to wane," for example) or risible (such as, "When the yearning to obtain a desirable flavor incites theft, gourmandizing has execrably devolved into gluttony"). These objections stated, the book still gives readers a chance to acquaint themselves with something of the sweep of social history while providing the opportunity to meet figures made immediate through a discussion of their tables. With black-and-white and color illustrations. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Feasting on history, Young, a lecturer in culinary history at Sotheby's, draws on a range of sources to provide 12 historic dinner parties. Ranging from the Abbey at Cluny in 1132 to the Surrealist environment in 1932, she encompasses historic events and personalities from the last millennium. Based on the concept of a book of hours, the text finds Young dividing the meals into 12 reasons why we dine; the author selects historical occasions to showcase these motives from "Cementing a Bond," as exemplified by the wedding banquet of Maria de'Medici and Henry IV in Florence on October 5, 1600, to "Seduction at the Table," as illustrated by Casanova's Souper Intime, Venice, November 1753. Carefully drawing together the music, literature and personalities from contemporary descriptions, she paints vivid pictures of life as it was lived in these varying eras. Differentiating between dining and eating, Young evocatively presents the food as part of a whole experience; while she discusses certain foods and their preparations, she also references cookbooks of that period, emphasizing the settings both historical and physical, including the development of eating utensils. By the end, each chapter becomes a wonderful, individual snapshot of the past, each linked to the other by the common theme of food and dining.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Bremner on December 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Carolin Young takes you on a joyous visit back stage at twelve legenday dinner parties. The depth of historical research is astounding. No dull history here. Ms Young's exquisite style will have you wishing for another helping of this 'food for the soul'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RWordplay on August 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(In the interest of full disclosure, Ms. Young is a dear friend whom we admire greatly.) Even a sybarite is prey to habit. Epicureans fall out of sort. Voluptuaries run out of steam. We all need to recharge our enthusiasms. We need to recall the lives of the masters. Those inspired spirits who ate, drank and made merry. Those great men and women for whom appetite opened the doors of paradise.

Toward that end, to remind you that there is a right way to live--a life of the senses; a life of taste; of appetite; of anticipation and of satisfaction; passion and contentment; and of desire and surfeit. I offer "Apples of God in Settings of Silver," a book that will help you keep you on the straight and narrow--to live, as men and women were intended to live.

Ms. Young, the author of this book, is a devotee of the good life, of the table and those who set it, and of the appetite and of those who set it free. A chapter here, a chapter there, and before you know it, you'll be hard at work honing and perfecting your own appetites.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By wdcpb@msn.com on December 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A magical melding of the worlds of dining, cooking, entertaining and history. This is a fascinating book, beautifully written, carefully researched, and with gorgeous photos. I'm buying it for all my friends who cook and enjoy having parties.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By morgana on June 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not for everyone, but if this is your thing - and very possibly even if it's not . . . it's glorious.
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