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White Truffles in Winterby N. M. Kelby
Synopses & Reviews
imagines the world of the remarkable French chef Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935), who changed how we eat through his legendary restaurants at the Savoy and the Ritz. A man of contradictions--kind yet imperious, food-obsessed yet rarely hungry--Escoffier was also torn between two women: the famous, beautiful, and reckless actress Sarah Bernhardt and his wife, the independent and sublime poet Delphine Daffis, who refused ever to leave Monte Carlo. In the last year of Escoffier's life, in the middle of writing his memoirs, he has returned to Delphine, who requests a dish in her name as he has honored Bernhardt, Queen Victoria, and many others. How does one define the complexity of love on a single plate? N. M. Kelby brings us the sensuality of food and love amid a world on the verge of war in this work that shimmers with beauty and longing.
"Delphine Daffis is dying, and she wants her husband, French chef August Escoffier (famous for his restaurants, the Savoy and the Ritz), to create a dish named after her, as he has done for his lover, Sara Bernhardt, and countless others, even Queen Victoria. He had always refused, saying 'one should never attempt to define the sublime' but Delphine didn't believe him for a minute. Kelby (Whale Season) uses these historical figures to tell her story, set as WWII looms, and Escoffier has returned to his long estranged wife in Monte Carlo to write his memoir, The Complete Escoffier: A Memory in Meals. Delphine hires Sabine, a local beauty stricken with polio as kitchen help to persuade her husband to create a dish named for her. Without one, Delphine fears the world won't know that the great chef loved her. Escoffier shows Sabine his cooking techniques, but he cannot settle on a dish that does his wife justice. Instead he's consumed with regret over his life in Paris and London, which kept him far away from Delphine, his great love, who would not leave Monte Carlo. Kelby captures the sensory pleasures of food and the complex role it plays in the lives of her characters — seductive, repulsive, comforting. Careful research enhances but does not overtake the narrative. Readers in search of an evocative and sensual read will be well satisfied." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A breathtaking novel, rare and moving, about the world's greatest chef and his unruly heart.
About the Author
N. M. Kelby is the critically acclaimed author of In the Company of Angels, Whale Season, and the Florida Book Award winner A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts, among other works. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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