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Kafka's Soup: A Complete History of World Literature in 14 Recipes Hardcover – November 6, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1 edition (November 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151012830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012831
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

London-based photographer Crick's whimsical book consists of pastiches of famous writers having culinary adventures. John Steinbeck's Depression-era risotto is a parched affair: "The porcini lay dry and wrinkled, each slice twisted by thirst." The Marquis de Sade's heroine Justine offers a through-the-keyhole account of her captor's preparation of Boned, Stuffed Poussins: "I had no idea that a small bird could take so much stuffing, but he carried on, using language that my ears could barely suffer, until the poor bird could take no more." Crick easily evokes the serene wisdom of Jane Austen, in a recipe for Tarragon Eggs: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that eggs, kept for too long, go off." From Raymond Chandler's edgy account of cooking lamb to Gabriel García Márquez's epic Coq au Vin, from Harold Pinter's one-act Cheese on Toast to Chaucer's versified instructions for Onion Tart, Crick ranges easily throughout world literature, perfectly capturing the voice of each writer. Not content with this capricious achievement, Crick supplies his own color illustrations, likewise works of pastiche, gently mocking, among others, Andy Warhol, William Hogarth, Jean Cocteau, Vincent van Gogh and Henry Moore. This is a delight for literary foodies. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"In this lovingly executed little volume of literary parodies, Mr. Crick mines his early obsessions with food and fiction … a small but sparkling marriage of the tasteful and the tasty."


(The Wall Street Journal)

"Brief and witty and also useful: pastiche with a purpose … Mr. Crick is evidently a man of many talents: his recipes are both plausible and appetizing; his literary impersonations are all cleverly executed and, in patches, brilliant; and the illustrations (also by Mr. Crick) are playful pastiche, too."
(The New York Observer)

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Customer Reviews

This is a witty and very clever little book.
Simone R. Hunter
As an added bonus, the recipes look to be perfectly wonderful all by themselves.
Dee Churchill
I suspect most book lovers also enjoy good food.
Skye

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In a great leap of imagination, Crick, described as a literary ventriloquist, has concocted a wonderful pastiche of recipes penned in the language of each author, for example, Kafka's "Quick Miso Soup". Like Kafka, the soup is thin, but exotic; one pictures the author too busy to cook, or eat, his energies better spent on his work. The recipes are diverse: Lamb with Dill Sauce a La Raymond Chandler; Tarragon Eggs a la Jane Austen; Tiramisu a la Marcel Proust; Cheese on Toast a la Harold Pinter; and Onion Tart a la Geoffrey Chaucer. Somehow Crick manages to imbue each recipe with the distinctive flavor of the writer, those peculiarities of language so uniquely mastered by literary favorites. He carefully assembles each pastiche, marrying flavor and degree of difference with author, adding a pinch of tart or sweet as required for authenticity.

In his legendary Lamb with Dill Sauce, Chandler "sipped on my whiskey sour, ground out my cigarette on the chopping board... I needed a table at Maxim's... what I had was a leg of lamb and no clues." In preparation for her Tarragon Eggs, Jane Austen believes "That the arrival of a newcomer in the parish presented the perfect opportunity and Mrs. B-- wasted no time in sending out invitations to a luncheon." Proust's Tiramisu is reflective, charged with meaning: "the memories of smell and taste, so faithful, resisted the destruction and rebuilt for a moment the palace wherein dwelt the remembrance of that evening and that tiramisu.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Skye on December 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It isn't often you read a book that is so orginal. Including recipes in a book has become commonplace -- but not like this. I suspect most book lovers also enjoy good food. And here's a great combination...real recipes incorporated into the language of real authors in their own style. Would be fun to have a dinenr party composed of the dishes described and read Crick's recipe before each course. Yummm. Something good for the mind and for the stomach.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dee Churchill on February 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Crick has produced a small but rich volume that pays homage to writers from Homer to Raymond Chandler and if there is a false note struck anywhere, I cannot detect it. As an added bonus, the recipes look to be perfectly wonderful all by themselves.

Crick begins with the hilarious Chandler shtick centered on Lamb with Dill Sauce. "It was time to deal with the butter and flour so I mixed them together into a paste and added it to the stock. There wasn't a whisk, so using my blackjack I beat out any lumps until the paste was smooth." Almost makes me sorry I come equipped with three different whisks and not a blackjack in sight.

Speaking in the articulate phrasing of the Marquis de Sade, Crick manages to make fun of politically correct cuisine with its "naive trust in low-fat yogurt" and celebrate the sensuality of food with a story about an innocent maiden forced to observe a hypocritical judge as he lecherously prepares Boned Stuffed Poussins. Makes you quiver, it does.

The Harold Pinter playlet titled "Cheese on Toast" features ciabatta and eggplant and mozzarella and, I swear it, you can taste the results before you've finished reading. My tummy growls in frustration for I have none of the aforementioned ingredients on hand.

So far, my favorite is the gem in the voice of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, titled "Coq au Vin." There is a priest tormented by mosquitos and a mulatta cook who prepares a last meal for a murderer, Fidel Agosto Santiago, and the meal is the tough carcass of the fabled fighting cock, El Jaguaracito, donated by its owner, the Syrian. It's all there -- drama, rich characterization and food so wonderful it will make you weep.

I love to read and I love to cook. It's hard to imagine a single book that combines those two pleasures more perfectly than this one does. This book will hold a place of pride and joy in my cookbook collection. Now -- I wonder if I can find a blackjack on eBay?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Simone R. Hunter on January 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a witty and very clever little book. The author is obviously well read and a smarty pants. This book is a wonderful gift ..hostess, grandma, ma , friends etc.
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