Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Cooking Skills are Sadly Apparent

The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark

I’m back in Venice again during the 16th century with this novel and completely loving the journey! This novel begins on the streets with a young boy that is on his own and just trying to stay alive. While stealing to quench his hunger, the boy is accosted by the chef of the doge and made to return his bounty. The chef brings him back to the palace kitchens and makes him his apprentice. There are some scenes where the boy, in the middle of the night, tries to create marvelous concoctions to impress the chef. His main rule of thumb is that if all the individual ingredients are tasty then so will be the finished product. I’m personally pretty domestically inept in the kitchen and while the reader is meant to see that his recipes are putrid, it sadly went right over my head! LOL! (There’s a reality TV show… Martha Stewart can come to my house to teach me how to be domestic but she’ll end up helping me put out the small fires in my kitchen while I order a pizza for the family! LOL! I don’t think she’d go for it though… it might give her a small mental breakdown! LOL!)

Anyway, the novel deals with the city’s hunt for a legendary book which supposedly contains love potions, an elixir for immortality, and much other sage wisdom. The novel is a fine bildungsroman. It has a reverence for the mysteries of the kitchen and how food can transform moods and change the course of history. It’s very entertaining and quite funny in portions too!

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