Friday, December 1, 2017

Feast of Sorrow Announcement

One book reviewer describes Feast of Sorrow  by Crystal King as "The Food Network meets HBO’s Rome."  That is a spot-on description.  

For the December/January round, we travel to the time of togas.  The novel's plot revolves around Thrasius, a slave who is coveted by many for his culinary prowess, and his master Apicius.  This is a tale of intrigue, power, and obsession as Apicius is determined to become the culinary adviser for Caesar.   He sees his new slave as the key to his success.   

Rendering of  Marcus Gavius Apicius from Vast Morsels

Apicius is based on a historical figure, Marcus Gavius Apicius, who lived during the First Century AD.  He was known as a gourmand and epicurean and is often attributed as the first author of any known cookbook.  Although the truth about Apicius' life is a bit sketchy at best, King takes historical references of his life (from ancient texts) and of his tragic death and fills in the blanks in this work of fiction.  

From The Kitchen Project
Apicius, the collection of recipes that bears his name, was actually compiled in the late Fourth or early Fifth Century.  (A good modern compilation is Cooking Apicius by Sally Granger.)

The list of culinary inspiration is almost infinite in this historical novel.   King teases with just a few offerings on her website including the following:

I cannot wait to see what ancient culinary delights are cooked up for this next round.  For more inspiration and an interesting discussion of this book and ancient Rome, you might want to listen to "What Did Ancient Romans Eat? New Novel Serves Up Meals and Intrigue" (The Salt, April 28, 2017).  

The deadline for Feast of Sorrow is January 31, 2018.  Anyone can join in by reading the current selection, preparing a dish inspired by its contents, and writing about it. Let me know when your entry post is up by commenting on this post and/or sending me an email at 

New to Cook the Books? Welcome to all!  Check out our About and Guidelines pages or leave a question in the comments on this post.



Claudia said...

This looks to be a wonderful selection Debra, I've got mine on the way from Amazon.

Simona Carini said...

I am enjoying the book a lot so far, Debra :)

Tina said...

I am in on this one. I made the time, I’m completely engaged with this book and there is so. Much. Food!

Tina said...

I loved this one, Debra, My link is here:

Claudia said...

They just let me know my book got lost, but they refunded and I ordered another one. Hopefully it will get here soon.

Simona Carini said...

Some years ago I made a great Roman recipe. I am sharing the post here as it includes links you may find useful, including one to a set of recipes including the pear patina mentioned in the novel:

Debra Eliotseats said...

I just finished the novel and feel a bit perplexed. Although I enjoyed it, the brutality of the times overshadowed the whole "foodie goggle" thing for me. Getting ready to make my dish. Happy New Year, all!!

Debra Eliotseats said...

And, thanks for the recipe ideas, Simona!

Hope you got your book, Claudia!

Claudia said...

Yes, got it. The book we thought was lost. Now the other one will probably turn up too.

Amy CookingAdventures said...

Thank you for hosting! Here is my recipe for Ham & Swiss Stuffed Pigley Buns!

Camilla Mann said...

Just emailed you my link. Thanks for picking this. I read it last summer and, again, last month. Loved it!

Claudia said...

I've now got two of the books! And my post is up: