RECKLESS APPETITES by Jacqueline Deval


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 Take the basis for a fine literary cookbook, fold it lightly around a thin romantic plot, heap the whole confection with allusion and history, then glaze it with pretension, and there you'll have Deval's first effort--a hybrid novel-cookbook, termed a ``culinary romance.'' Pomme Bouquin, a self-styled cooking teacher, lives in London but mostly occupies a rarer world made up of great books and good food. She's a girl who smells of cinnamon, smiles a wide smile, and will go to extremes to win the rather hard heart of the man of her dreams, a musician named Jeremy. For Pomme, going to extremes specifically means planning the ultimate meal of seduction. For inspiration, she turns to Colette, Lord Byron, Madame de SÇvignÇ, and other literary lights, re-creating their recipes for us and fully evoking the sensuousness in their writing as well. Alas, it isn't enough for arrogant Jeremy, who dumps her. And in short order Pomme is back at her books, seeking a suitable recipe for revenge. Will it be the Count of Monte Cristo's poisoned lemonade or, perhaps, arsenic-laced jam † la Madame Bovary? Pomme seems deadly serious about her plans for vengeance. But, alas again, there just isn't enough sustenance here to meet the minimum daily requirements of a real novel. Pomme, Jeremy, and the other characters speak in indistinguishable, self-important voices. They're all monomaniacal about good food, but, finally, they are as skimpy and expendable as the paper frills on the lamb chop. The real meat of this book is in the rich anecdotes of the meals dished out in literature, followed by the recipes to achieve them. A feast, then, for food-lovers and cookbook fans, but those hoping for a real story will find it half-baked.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1993
ISBN: 0-88001-322-2
Page count: 197pp
Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993


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