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Natural Synergy Between Opera and Food Realized in Sumptuously Presented Cookbook
on November 10, 2006
The connection between opera and food is such a natural that food historian Francine Segan has a field day with the lavish format of her eminently entertaining cookbook. Each chapter reflects a specific operatic work or theme (e.g., Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess", German opera) or the overall work of a legendary composer like Puccini and Mozart. From that basis, Segan offers the appropriate menu, whether it is a casual brunch, a formal five-course dinner, or in the case of Mozart, a collection of delectable sweets like Figaro's Orange Cake or Linzertorte Music Bars. The tastiest-looking recipes include the tapas inspired by Bizet's "Carmen", including Serrano Ham with Drunken Melon and Melty Manchego with Spicy-Sweet Tomato Jam, and the down-home, "Porgy and Bess"-inspired dishes like Maple Buttermilk Biscuits and Butternut Squash "Hash" with Southern Comfort.
There are over 125 recipes included, all meticulously chosen for their compatibility with the music, and Segan offers such relevant facts as how Mozart's Don Giovanni offers tapas-like nibbles throughout Act I as a means to divert attention from his philandering. In true Food Network fashion, she also provides entertainment and presentation tips to complete the picture. Moreover, to fortify the opera connection, she enlisted world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming to write the foreword and baritone Gerald Finley to act as a wine sommelier for some of the recipes. There is also a nice collection of archived photographs from past Metropolitan Opera performances to see the specific inspirations for the food, as well as loads of trivia and historical facts about the operas themselves. Mark Thomas provides the stunning culinary photographs. This book is obviously most ideal for opera lovers who aspire to become the next Martha Stewart.