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In the 1970s, renowned chef and cookbook collector Louis Szathmary purchased a notebook written in German and dated 1905, containing more than two hundred recipes for soups, appetizers, main dishes, and a wealth of desserts, ices, and punches. This kitchen notebook, a concrete remnant from the paradoxical world of turn-of-the-century Vienna, belonged to a woman who played an extraordinary role in her society: actress Katharina Schratt, lavishly admired by crowned heads, industrialists, artists, composers and Franz Joseph I, emperor of Austria and king of Hungary. Schratt was his friend, companion, and confidante for thirty-two years, and these are the foods she served in her home.
To Set before the King is really three books in one, Gertrud Champe has written an entertaining biography of Schratt and her glittering world. The carefully translated recipes themselves, from Little Croustades a la Talleyrand to Goulash a la Andrassy to Gingerbread a l'Elise are either comfortable and homey to soothe the highly regimented emperor or elegant and sophisticated to suit the palates of Schratt's more vivacious friends. Finally, working from Schratt's tantalizing aide-memoire, Chef Louis Szathmary has created almost a hundred updated Austro-Hungarian recipes that will bring the world of this European metropolis to the tables of today's cooks.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
Some fancy footwork is done here to link this 1905 collection of Austrian recipes, part of the Iowa Szathmary Culinary Arts Series, to Emperor Franz Joseph I and his longtime friend, the actress Katharina Schratt. Although the notebook containing these recipes has "property of Kath. Schratt" written inside, the recipe writer's identity is unknown, and a leap is made in assuming that these are recipes she would have served to her royal friend. The relationship between Schratt and the emperor is a fascinating one, however. Apparently, his wife hand-picked Schratt to keep him company during her absence, and the actress became his window into the life of his subjects. As for the well-annotated recipes, they are interesting as historical artifacts (particularly the names, many of which, like Cookies a la Sarah Bernhardt and Fillet a la Walter Scott, were given in homage to popular figures of the time). But few readers will rush to whip up Brain Croquettes. However, any fin de siecle Viennese theme party (where guests come dressed as Wittgenstein, Freud and Alma Mahler) would benefit from the cheerful section titled "Bring Vienna to Your Table!" Written by chef Louis Szathmary, it offers suggested menus and a list of mail-order sources.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description University Of Iowa Press, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M087745535X
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