Monday, August 17, 2009

Dinner is Served: New Book Provides Entrée to Cannibalism

‘I sautéed the steak of Bernd, with salt, pepper, garlic and nutmeg. I had it with Princess croquettes, Brussels sprouts and a green pepper sauce”
Fresh on the, ahem, heels of Julia & Julie, the new movie by Nora Ephron about Julia Child and her worshipful acolyte-blogger, Julie Powell, comes a new book about the cuisine that dare not speak its name. Master this sort of cooking and the only thing you’ll actually be serving is a prison sentence.

Those who enjoy Bernd Steak well done will salivate over An Intellectual History of Cannibalism by political scientist at the University of Bucharest, and Docent, Department of Social and Moral Philosophy, University of Helsinki, Catalin Avramescu, translated by Alistair Ian Blyth (Princeton University Press, 2009).

The above, scrumptious quotation is from a television interview by Armin Meiwes, the notorious German anthropophagus who was tried and convicted of manslaughter for the death of Bernd Brandes, who Meiwes invited to dinner, killed (by consent!), butchered then dressed, ate, and digested. It was a cautionary tale of watching what you eat and portion control, and feeding the hungry heart – sauté’ed and garnished with an insouciant sprig of insanity.

Avramescu focuses his thesis on the theory and thought of cannibalism, their historical reality irrelevant. “Whether cannibals existed or not is a fact of marginal importance,” he writes. For political scientists, historians of ideas and anthropologists, cannibalism offers a smorgasbord of political and social philosophy to chew on. It’s rich food for thought if not consumption; actual cannibalism interferes with intellectual digestion. Those prone to intellectual heartburn may want to keep some Rolaids around for the read.

The London Review of Books has an excellent review of the book, All Eat All by novelist Jenny Diski. It’s quite a meal about a book that’s an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Coming Soon: Unpublished book by Julia Child, posthumously issued - Cooking Jacques Pépin.
Bon appetite!

(And Bon Livres).


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