Friday, April 13, 2012

My College Roommates: Angel & Nero {The Nero Wolfe Cook Book Review}

When I was in college, I perused every used bookstore I came across in search of Nero Wolfe Mystery books.  This was in the stone ages and the PC was not a fixture in every home.  There was no Amazon to click on.  So searching through dusty shelves in little bookstores was what one did.  Rex Stout wrote over 60 Nero Wolfe books in the series and then a writer named Robert Goldsborough wrote another 1/2 dozen after Rex Stout had passed.  I loved these books and probably read most of them.  My roommate Angel shared my love of Nero and we swapped them back and forth, discussed them, analyzed them, loved them.  And interestingly, while they were mysteries they had a HUGE focus on food, gourmet food.   You see, Nero Wolfe was not only a wealthy detective living in an old brownstone in NYC solving crimes, he was a "foodie" {before the label had been coined}. His chef Fritz Brenner made his meals and the story always included his meals.... in detail.

In Too Many Cooks Nero said: 
"I beg you not to entrust these dishes to your cook unless he is an artist.  Cook them yourself and only for an occasion that is worthy of them."

Nearly a decade after Nero, Angel & I stopped being roommates a package arrived from Angel and it contained.... The Nero Wolfe Cookbook by Rex Stout.   I still love the inscription and chuckle at the thought of where Angel "went wrong" with cooking.... but that's for another day.

Anyhow, the book.  It's a fun cookbook for ANYONE but obviously  more fun if you were a Nero Wolfe fan.  Each recipe has an excerpt from the book in which it was featured... the recipes are broken down in chapters like "Breakfast in The Brownstone" or "Luncheon in the Dining Room" or of course "The Perfect Dinner for the Perfect Detective."

Nero cooks and eats both the common and the uncommon... there are recipes for Mutton, Headcheese and Opossum if you desire the uncommon.

If you are more like me your copy will be dog eared on recipes like "Spareribs in Special Sauce," "Cape Cod Clam Cakes" or "Brazilian Lobster Salad " featuring avocado, chives, white wine and lobster.  I'll have to blog some of these :)

There are many, many treasures in this cookbook and I recommend it for every home chef with a taste for the extraordinary {and I recommend those little mysteries too!}

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