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text 2014-11-24 16:46
Reading in Progress: Cooking for Kings, The Life of Antonin Careme - or People In the 1800s Also Enjoyed Snarky Nicknames
Cooking for Kings - The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef - Ian Kelly

This is going to be yet another book that will have me hunting up other biographies. I'm assuming it was a somewhat difficult book to write because Antonin Careme has a lot of blanks in his personal life (more on that in the review), and there's just not a lot of documentation to dig up on them. Which is true of a LOT of biographies of people who lived during the French Revolution when a lot of documentation was destroyed. Though when you start life as a orphan living on the streets there wouldn't be much documentation of that anyway.


What is very clear is how many famous people Careme cooked for during his life, and how many wanted very much to have him as their personal chef. He was definitely a celebrity, and it's fascinating. However equally fascinating are some tidbits that the author (Ian Kelly) shares about the people who Careme worked for - and it has everything to do with humorous asides.


Of course I have a quote! How could I resist? Also I have to share with someone what I've been snickering over. The historical snark is in the last bit of the quote - like I needed to even point that out. Also see the wiki link (on his name) for a painting of Stewart in uniform.


52% in:

Charles Stewart (1778-1854) had just been appointed British ambassador to Vienna. The dandy who had made something of an ass of himself at the Congress of 1814-15, fighting with cab drivers and goosing debutantes at the Opera, was maturing into a respectable diplomat. ...


...Like Careme's previous employers Tallyrand and the Prince Regent, Stewart loved a uniform. He wore them well. One of his several conquests in Vienna in 1814, the Duchess de Sagan, had nicknamed him the 'Golden Pheasant' for his love of yellow riding boots, and 'Big Lord Pumpernickel,' for reasons unrecorded."

And so who am I thinking I need a biography of after that quote? Oh the Duchess first (of course), then Stewart. No idea if Stewart had as much wit as the lady, but he was apparently always getting into...things, which would lead to fodder for witty folk of the times. Problem will be that at a glance much of the Duchess' biographies aren't in English, so I'll have to settle for Stewart.


[A future problem will be that I'll wonder why I have a book for Charles Stewart on my email notification list. Too bad I can't somehow tag it with "Charles Stewart = Big Lord Pumpernickel" because that I'll remember immediately!]

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text 2014-11-09 01:46
Fun with Flight Reading Decisions
Neuromancer - William Gibson
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley - Neal Thompson
Cooper's Creek. - Alan Moorhead
The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation - Ian Mortimer
Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum - Jason Felch,Ralph Frammolino
Mistress of the Elgin Marbles : A Biography of Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin - Susan Nagel
How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at An Answer - Sarah Bakewell
Cooking for Kings - The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef - Ian Kelly
Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking by Colquhoun, Kate (2008) Paperback - Kate Colquhoun
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl - Timothy Egan

I've bought ebooks on sale for over a month but haven't bothered to download them onto my ereader. And now that I have a trip to fly off on this seemed the perfect download time. Except I didn't realize how many books I now have to choose from, yeek. Plus I've finally had to delete things just to free up space. It's definitely time to sit down and cull through all the Gutenberg and other I-can-not-resist-the-free fodder.


Because I always enjoy virtually oogling all your books when you folk have buying fests, here's my stack.


The real problem will now be whether to finish what I'm reading now or cheat and start yet another new book. This is exactly the kind of thing I love thinking over instead of "will I make the connecting flight?"


Oddly there are a couple books in here that I've already downloaded - but there must be some kind of text update that's occurred. (The Worst Hard Time also just re-downloaded itself twice. Weird.) I'm on the fence about whether I like this kind of change or not - so far none of the surprise-updated books have had major overhauls of the main text. There have only  been things like a new forward - something I don't mind. A major revision of text hasn't happened yet, and I haven't heard of more than a few cases of that happening. (And of course I don't remember specifics either. Sigh.)


Where am I traveling to? We'll see if I can upload a photo or two and hint once I get there. (If I can't mange a photo I'll use links somehow. Much more fun than just telling.)

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text 2014-11-01 20:51
US Amazon Book Sale-ish: When Things On My List Email Me
Cooking for Kings: The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef - Ian Kelly
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley - Neal Thompson

SusannaG has already posted one of the books on my sale alert with links here - it was Duel with the Devil, with a very long full title about a murder with Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in on the history. As far as I've read it's factual. But because I've already been sucked into multiple sales this week, I have to pass on that one.

[Prices, as always, probably going to only on sale in the US. But worth a check on your end, just in case.]


I usually always give in on $1.99 sales too - but my brain (the Book Greed Center, wherever that's located in there) already wheedled me into buying these:


Cooking for Kings by Ian Kelly ($2.99)

I've had this on my Want list for some time because there aren't a lot of books (especially in English), about Marie-Antoine Carême. Check out that wikipedia link and I think you'll see why I found him interesting. I've waited for years for the ebook to go on sale and this is the first time I've seen one.


A Curious Man: The Strange and Brillian Life of Robert "Believe It Or Not!" Ripley, by Neal Thompson ($3.99)

In my continual quest to read all books on things strange Ripley comes up a lot. His...er field is much more in the P.T. Barnum line (mixed with cartooning) than nonfiction, but his bio should be fun. Hopefully. Also the first time I've had notification of a sale on this one.


And no longer on sale, but adding for the interest:


How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, by Sarah Bakewell

Got this from a Daily Deals tip at Dear Author and since I've been slowly reading Montaigne's essays (yay public domain ebooks) this seemed a good time to snap up this bio. It was also $1.99 at the time (now back to 8.99, sorry), which made it an easy impulse buy.


If you're into impulse buys and sales I'd say to take a peek at Dear Author's Daily Deals, even if the romance genre isn't your thing. They regularly post nonfiction, scifi and fantasy, and the prices are usually under $3.00. Also there are links to multiple stores, not just Amazon.


Oh and I get my Amazon sale info email notifications via EreaderIQ. Short version: add the books and the price you want an email alert for, if it ever drops that low. (I've not trusted them for a full import of my wish list because I don't do that with online services in general.) Only works for ebooks. There's also an area just for adding a list of paper books so you can find out when/if they're released as ebooks. (Which doesn't work 100% of the time.)


[As always, I'm not affiliated with any of the sites I link! I'd tell you if so! Also I'd dither over it too because as a rule I never blog about work.]


[Warning: both Daily Deals and EReaderIQ vastly increased my ebook buying since I first started reading/using. So, just a heads up. In case you too have a weakness for book sales.]

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review 2013-07-27 00:00
Cooking for Kings: The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef - Ian Kelly Marie Antoine (Antonin) Carême was abandoned on the streets of Paris in the throes of the Terror. He started working for a pastry chef, and by the time he was a teenager was creating magnificent, imaginative pastry creations suitable for display. He became chef to Talleyrand, a gourmand who entertained ambassadors and royalty on behalf of the Napoleonic government. From there, Carême leapt from the kitchens of one court to the next, from the Romonovs to George IV to Vienna. His meticulous care and innovative recipes made him incredibly sought after, particularly after he wrote his name-dropping first book, Le Pâtissier royal parisien. Carême worked in a number of fraught diplomatic situations, and his food eased the way for peace between Russia and France, and the Rothschilds' entrance into high society. He worked absurdly hard, personally doing much of back-breaking, hand-scalding labor that went into high dining, and slept little. He died at the height of his fame, aged only 48, probably due to chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. Carême left behind nine books (not all of them about food--he was also passionate about architecture), a daughter, and hundreds of recipes. His terms and tests of sugar are still used. He was also the man responsible for popularizing service a la russe (where individual plates are brought to each diner at each course, instead of everyone serving from communal dishes), the tomato, vol-au-vents and countless other recipes that are enjoyed to this day.

Kelly is enthused about his subject, and the research he's done into Carême seems far ranging and impeccable. He includes numerous recipes translated into English, with a few notes on how to substitute modern ingredients in for things like isinglass or Maraschino liquor. The recipes also come with little summaries of when and where each recipe was originally concocted or served, along with some historical context. And to add to these riches, there are a number of full-color photos and even some of Carême's own illustrations of his creations. The only minor problem I had with this book was that once in a while Kelly indulged in speculation phrased as certainty, as when he prosed on about Carême's daughter Marie's feelings about her father. We have very little information about her, not even what happened to her after Carême's death, and yet Kelly seems sure that he knows how she felt. Doubtful! But overall, informative and enjoyable. And if you're interested in making historically accurate Regency food, this book will definitely help!

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