When I was a kid I was a great fan of Alexandre Dumas and when I was twelve my parents bought me a 24 volume edition of “The Three Musketeers” for Christmas. I did nothing but read for a fortnight. I had hardly time for school or homework and when I had read all 24 books I went to the library and borrowed the rest of his books I hadn’t already read.
Five years later I read them all again in English and I still got all the Norwegian and the English versions on my book shelves.
My love of food and cooking was even then as great as my love of reading and I knew Dumas had written a cook book, but it was not in print back then. I never forgot his novels but his cook book had slipped my mind until I read about it on a blog recently.
A cook book by Dumas may seen an improbability. Yet Alexandre Dumas was an expert cook – his love of food was said to be equalled only by his love of women – and his “Great Dictionary of Cuisine,” written “to be read by worldly people and used by professionals” and published posthumously in 1873, is a masterpiece in its own right.
This abridged version of the “Dictionary” is designed to be both useful and entertaining. There are hundreds of recipes for sauces, soups, meat, fish, eggs, poultry and game well within the scope of an experienced and imaginative cook.
For his “dinner” entry he wrote:
Dinner. A major daily activity, which can be accomplished in worthy fashion only by intelligent people. It is not enough to eat. To dine, there must be diversified, calm conversation. It should sparkle with rubies of the wine between courses, be deliciously suave with the sweetness of dessert, and acquire true profundity with the coffee.
Where ever you are Alexandre, I hope there are delicious food,
great wine and beautiful women in abundance there – Ted 😉
You can buy an abridged version of the book at amazon.com here