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  Although the truth about Apicius' life is a bit sketchy at best, King takes historical references of his life (from ancient texts) and of his tragic death and fills in the blanks in this work of fiction.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.