Comments: 8
Familiar Diversions 10 months ago
The recipes thing sounds bizarre. I just saw a trailer for the movie and I wouldn't have expected cozy mystery-style recipe extras with a story like that.
"So it goes." 10 months ago
I read this series earlier this year. I loved the second book the best, and once I got used to the recipes, I liked them. In fact, even though I'm not a cook, I was chagrined that they lack proper measurements more than once. I found myself looking for what they ate every chapter so I'd know what recipe was about to appear. It's a weird combination, but it's sort of fun. Beyond cooking, I liked this series pretty much. It wasn't the best I've ever read, but I'm glad I read it. I've got a review to post here eventually.
Are the recipes related to the story in some way?
"So it goes." 10 months ago
They're tangentially related. In every chapter or so, the characters eat or drink or have lunch or whatever, and between the chapters, the recipes for what they've eaten or their cocktails show up.
Moonlight Reader 10 months ago
So it goes is correct. They also aren't really recipes, because they don't include measurements, and are quite light on instructions. I think that the author wanted to highlight the various cultures in the book, so he would include a quick explanation of something that one of the characters had cooked or eaten that is typically a traditional food for that character or location. It's less weird now that I'm further into the book, and I find myself enjoying reading the snippet.
Ah. Thanks for explaining.

I had been wondering because there's one WWII spy thriller I can think of (which used to be cult in Germany when I was in high school) where recipes are absolutely central to the plot, because the main character -- who is initially blackmailed into becoming a spy, and later morphs into a sort of multiple double agent -- is, first and foremost, a true gourmet and master chef, and throughout the book each of the dinners he creates is absolutely central to one of his coups; and the various courses of those dinners are elaborately woven into the plot.

But it sounds in "Red Sparrow" it's done more in the way of the "Pennsylvania Dutch" mystery series?
Moonlight Reader 10 months ago
I haven't read the Pennsylvania Dutch mystery series. Which WWII spy thriller are you talking about - it sounds interesting!
It's a German book called "Es muss nicht immer Kaviar sein" -- I think the title was translated almost, but not quite literally into "It Can't Always Be Caviar"; alluding, of course, to the fact that the hero was basically able to use whatever he found (culinarily speaking and otherwise) to his advantage.

The book's author, Johannes Mario Simmel, was better known for the "racy" style of many of his books (most, though not all of them, set in the world of politics and / or business), and there's some of that in this book as well, but less so than in his other books (though the hero is quite the ladies' man and could easily pass for "Bond light" -- but with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek). Anyway, I still like the basic conceit of a book meshing spy thriller and culinary yarn ... and a few other things.