Sunday, 1 June 2014

Food and Books - Maigret, Babette and Lieven

Some books are more dedicated to food then others. The Austrian author Johannes Mario Simmel wrote the book Es muss nicht immer Kaviar sein (It Must Not Always be Caviar; my translation). This merry adventure book is about Thomas Lieven, ladies man, pacifist and gourmand, who is reluctantly forced to work as a secret agent for England, France, Germany and the United States, before, during and after WWII. He only wants to be left in peace to create culinary masterpieces, but alas, this is not for him. Somehow he manages his adventures and find time to cock. The recipes are shared with the reader.

 Babette's Feast by Karen Blixen is about Babette who was a master cock in Paris but had to flee France around 1871. She ended up in a small village in Norway with two priest daughters. They were fine, good people who lived a sparse life and never thought too much about food. To celebrate the 100 anniversary of the daughters father, Babette - who had won 10.000 franc in a French lottery, insists on paying and organising the feast. She travels back to France to buy the best food and wine. The dinner is a huge success in the congregation, they have never tasted anything like it.

Maigret by Georges Simenon, is a famous chief inspector in Paris, who loves food and to solve crimes. Simenon wrote around 100 books about Maigret. Maigret likes simple, every day food, especially Mrs Maigret's oven baked mackerel. He feels the aroma already in the stairs leading up to his flat. The secret is that the mackerel has been brushed with an equal amount of lemon juice and mustard, then put on a bed of onion and parsley, plus a little bit of white wine! Sounds good to me, might be worth trying!

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