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Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver: Stories of Dinner as a Work of Art

Young, Carolin C.

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ISBN 10: 0743222024 / ISBN 13: 9780743222020
Published by Simon & Schuster, New York, 2002
Condition: F1ne Hardcover
From Abstract Books (Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A.)

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(xvi) 365 pages, b/w illustrations, color plates, notes and credits, select bibliography, select discography, photo credits, large 8vo, pale lavendar textured boards/white spine. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. Travels through 10 centuries to detail 12 legendary dinner parties including Casanova's Soupe Intime; Bernard Shaw's Sunday Supper with Wm. Morris and Family; Caresse Crosby's Surrealistic picnic. Serving the antiquarian and used book world since 1980. Bookseller Inventory # 020017

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver: ...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, New York

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: F1ne

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First Printing.

About this title


The author answers the question "what does it mean to dine?" by focusing on twelve historic dinner parties, deconstructing each to describe the personalities who attended each banquet, the food served, and the general ambience.


"To dine is not merely to eat," says Carolin C. Young, whose Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver explores dinner as social document--the ambiance, manners, diners, settings, and cooking of 12 feasts spanning 900 years of European history. These meals, which Young dubs art, range from Peter the Venerable's 11th-century Clunic feast in Burgundy to a 20th-century surrealistic picnic, and include dinners populated by the likes of Casanova, Titian, George Bernard Shaw, and Salvador Dali.

The premise is a fascinating one--who wouldn't be interested in the introduction of the fork, for example, or the arrival of turkeys in the Old World from the New? Unfortunately, Young seems compelled to tell everything she's learned. This results in meandering scene setting and lengthy digressions (for example, a chapter on Count Heinrich von Brüel's 18th-century feast halts over an investigation of Meissen porcelain) that drain her narratives of interest. The book's contextual "wealth" also makes some of the dinners, sometimes insufficiently documented by history anyway, seem more ghostly than they otherwise might. (Lacking specifics, the menus themselves are also sometimes evoked in terms of typical period fare.) In addition, Young is given to observations that are suspect ("But once the idea of hell reached its creative zenith with Dante's Inferno, fascination with gluttony began to wane," for example) or risible (such as, "When the yearning to obtain a desirable flavor incites theft, gourmandizing has execrably devolved into gluttony"). These objections stated, the book still gives readers a chance to acquaint themselves with something of the sweep of social history while providing the opportunity to meet figures made immediate through a discussion of their tables. With black-and-white and color illustrations. --Arthur Boehm

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