Customer Reviews: Kafka's Soup: A Complete History of World Literature in 14 Recipes
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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon November 26, 2006
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." Gabriel Garcia Marquez (in the person of Father Antonio del Sacrament de Altar Castaneda) prepares Coq au Vin for a condemned prisoner, Fidel Agosto Santiago: "Santiago would eat his last supper the following night, and since the condemned man refused to accept food from his wife, the priest had taken on the responsibility."

A photographer by trade, Crick created the artwork for each recipe, equally precise in tone and detail, from the stark illustration of Steinbeck's Mushroom Risotto to the simplicity of Homer's Fenkata. Harold Pinter's Cheese on Toast is in stark black and white relief, while Austen's Tarragon Eggs features an elegant drawing of a fashionable lady and gentleman. These fourteen recipes are more than just an exercise in literary imagination; this flavorful volume is a gem. Luan Gaines/2006.
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on December 15, 2006
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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on February 20, 2007
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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on January 15, 2007
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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on February 19, 2008
I bought this book as a gift for a friend who is a great lover of literature. She loved it, and she and her partner enjoyed reading aloud to each other from it. Some of the recipes even look pretty good. The only complaint is that it's so short for the price. Another few recipes would have made it more worth while. This said, I'll probably order it again as a gift for another friend...just not somehting I'd buy for myself.
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on January 17, 2007
this is so much fun for someone who not only loves to read but loves to cook.
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on October 5, 2007
Very happy with the 2 copies of this book. They arrived safely packed and very prompt. Many thanks.
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on July 26, 2007
It is no wonder this $14.95 little book sells new for $3 at Amazon. Once you see how bad it is you couldn't give it away. To anyone who is REALLY interested in authors and their food, this is embarrassingly bad, and a terrible read. It should come with Malox.
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