A book review by Franz Scheurer
Kafka’s Soup purports to represent a complete history of world literature in 14 recipes – whether or not it achieves this, it is pure, unadulterated pleasure for the mind and body. Author Mark Crick, a photographer living in London, has an uncanny knack for recreating the styles of famous writers, letting their voices set the scene and impart the knowledge of a dish in quirky recipes that actually work. Each recipe is illustrated and the images are pure magic, tying the text and the voices irrevocably together.
Be it ‘Lamb with Dill Sauce’ à la Raymond Chandler: ‘I sipped on my whisky sour, ground out my cigarette on the chopping board and watched a bug trying to crawl out of the basin, I needed a a table at Maxim’s, a hundred bucks and a gorgeous blonde; what I had was a leg of lamb and no clues’. Or ‘Tarragon Eggs’ à la Jane Austen: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that eggs, kept for too long go off. The eggs of Oakley Farm had only recently been settled in the kitchen at Somercote, but already Mrs. B----- was planning a meal that would introduce them to the neighbourhood with what she hoped would be universal acceptance. Her eggs had been strongly endowed by nature with a turn for being uniformly agreeable and she hoped to see at least a half dozen of them make fine matches in the coming week’, all the recipes add up to what Irvine Welsh would call ‘A quality f%^*ing cook-up’.
Kafka’s Soup is unique, and one of the most entertaining books I have read. In fact, I can’t recommend it strongly enough. If you’re a food writer or have a penchant for language (and like good food) then this is one for you!
A Complete History of World Literature in 14 recipes
Written and illustrated by Mark Crick
Published by Wakefield Press
RRP $ 16.95