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Lives of Notorious Cooks

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  45 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
When he reached the age of 767, Peng Zu was sought after by the benevolent Emperor Yao, who wished to receive advice on ruling the nation. Peng Zu made a thick soup for the emperor out of pheasant, Job’s tear seeds and plums, well salted. Eating the dish, the emperor felt as if he were sitting on air. He was filled with a deep cosmic joy in which he saw everything clearly. ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published December 5th 2012 by Chomu Press
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Kasa Cotugno
Dec 26, 2016 Kasa Cotugno rated it really liked it
At first I thought this would be a great companion piece to Lunar Follies, Gilbert Sorrentino's send-up of pretentious art galleries. This collection of short essays lives up to its title, relating sometimes hilarious bios of famous cooks from antiquity forward. Some are historically true, others, more mythic, but the food porn references tend to cloy after a while. It's the situations and life experiences of these people whose passion was for their food as opposed to station in life or those th ...more
Douglas Penick
Feb 07, 2013 Douglas Penick rated it it was amazing
This is an utterly entrancing assemblage of biographies historical and fabulous from the antipodes of cuisine.
In the tradition of Ihara Saikaku, this book presents a wide range of obsessions as they manifest through the lens of single-minded devotion to manipulating food.
This wonderful and strangely disturbing book casts a continuing spell.
Sam Moss
May 27, 2013 Sam Moss rated it really liked it
Originally posted at the Small Press Book Review

Abstinence and indulgence, pleasure and pain. Each meal holds a microcosm of the world of desires. Brendan Connell has compiled a group of the most exquisite, the most transcendent, the most tortured masters of the culinary world for our reading pleasure. Lives of Notorious Cooks brings together 51 of the world’s greatest masters of cookery and in doing so also provides us a unique view of the antique world t
Brianna Soloski
Oct 15, 2012 Brianna Soloski rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Lives of Notorious Cooks was a weird book. It wasn’t bad weird or good weird. It was just weird. These fictional biographies tell the stories of a number of famous chefs throughout history. I know you’re thinking they can’t possibly be biographical if they’re fictional, but they are. I assume the author did research and then applied his own creative license to each piece.

I’m usually pretty good as suspending reality when I’m reading a book. I’ve read enough stories and written enough stories th
Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
Ω! Τι μπορώ να πω γι' αυτό το βιβλιαράκι; Είναι γοητευτικό, μυστηριώδες, σκαμπρόζικο, ευφυές, συγκινητικό, και πάνω απ' όλα γεμάτο γεύσεις, γεύσεις, γεύσεις!
Seregil of Rhiminee
Nov 20, 2012 Seregil of Rhiminee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Brendan Connell definitely can't be blamed for lack of imagination and wittiness, because who else could've come up with the idea of writing a historical book about cooks. This fully fictional account of the lives of historical people is a damn good book - it's historical fantasy at its best.

As you may have already guessed by the previous sentence, I categorize this book as historical fantasy (it's also possible to categorize this book as historical speculati
Brooke Everett
Nov 26, 2013 Brooke Everett rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
It takes a second to get into the groove of this little book, but it's absolutely a worthwhile read. The pieces are pretty short - some only a page or two - so after a while it starts to seem more like poetry. I read this on the beach in Jamaica, and it was perfect for alternating between reading and snoozing.

My favorite story was about a cook named Lala Sukh Lal Jain, set in India. His sweets were so delicious that a Brahmin bought some and took them to the Bhadra-Kālī temple as an offering to
Apr 21, 2013 Axolotl rated it really liked it
Shelves: chomu, reviewed
A feast of the senses, Lives of Notorious Cooks being, in many ways, the culinary cousin to his astounding novel/collection Metrophilias, which does for the art of cooking what that book did for the world's poleis and their disparate denizens. With some luck, Connell will find an interesting theme in this same delicious vein and round out these 2 treasuries of mini-fictional biographies, with a third volume.
Cooks is like a mini-1001 Arabian nights, where the kitchen can be anywhere; rather than
Victoria (vikz writes)
The book is mosaic in nature, telling the unconnected stories of several notorious cooks. It has a large geographic reach, spanning from England to China and all points in between. In addition, it covers a great chunk of time. The stories include both mundane and fantastic elements. Therefor, this book could have been written for me.

The idea is a good one. Many of the stories are simultaneously; funny,touching and eccentric. However, after several of them, they begin to merge and the reader’s at
Caleb Wilson
Dec 12, 2012 Caleb Wilson rated it really liked it
Great capsule biographies of masters of cookery throughout history. Connell's varied tones evoke a variety of moods and feelings, like the flavors of the dishes in a perfectly tuned meal. These pages made me hungry at times, but sometimes did the opposite, as though I'd eaten by myself a feast intended for one hundred. There is a loose connective tissue through the biographies, in the form of the cooks' imperturbable natures, certain shared ingredients, and possibly in a recurring demon/cooking ...more
Melissa Curtis
Sep 30, 2013 Melissa Curtis rated it really liked it
This is not my normal read, but I won it as a GR giveaway and was excited to give it a shot. I really enjoyed having something to read in between other long, epic novels. This is probably the most random book I've read this year, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to break up the monotony of reading serials.
Dec 21, 2013 Emily rated it liked it
Fair to middlin', I liked the premise more than the execution... some stories were great others shouldnt have made the collection, the organization was just confusing to offputting... needed more massaging
Dave Rezak
Jun 04, 2014 Dave Rezak rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful, odd little book of stories.
Nov 20, 2012 Liviu marked it as started_finish_later
read some 10 of the biographies so far and they are invariably entertaining and strange
Oct 10, 2014 Karl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chomu_press-own
Mr. Connell is one of my favorite authors these days. His wit and creativity and wide ranging topics make him a joy to read.
Catherine Myers
Catherine Myers rated it liked it
Mar 14, 2013
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Nov 08, 2014
Jon rated it it was amazing
Jan 10, 2013
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Jun 21, 2014
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Jason Rolfe
Jason Rolfe rated it it was amazing
Dec 13, 2012
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