Fannie's Last Supper

Re-creating One Amazing Meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 Cookbook
Fannie's Last Supper: Re-creating One Amazing Meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 Cookbook. Hyperion. Oct. 2010. c.272p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781401323226. $25.99. COOKING
Inspired by the opulence of the formal dinner parties of late 19th-century America, Kimball (founder, Cook's Illustrated) sets out to host his own 12-course meal using period recipes and equipment. Fannie Farmer's 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book serves as the guide for the meal, although Kimball is quick to point out its shortcomings and take inspiration from other period and modern sources. The narrative shifts smoothly between details of prebanquet research, organization, and testing and entertaining digressions on topics ranging from Colonial Boston's food markets to the correct technique for boiling a whole calf's head to the inner workings of cast iron coal-fired stoves. Many of the recipes making up the final meal are included, the more exotic and time-consuming of these best admired rather than seriously attempted.
VERDICT Recommended for culinary history fans, particularly Bostonians, or any collection where kitchen diaries are popular. A documentary film of the feast slated for a November broadcast on PBS may drive up demand.
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