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Dining with the Rich and Royal

Fiona Ross

Dining with the Rich and Royal is a marvelous journey into the gastronomic peccadilloes of the great, the good, and the not-so-good. When the world is at your feet, what is on your table? Dining with the Rich and Royal serves up the glamour of the jet set on a plate, from the silver spoon to the last Kleenex wipe. We follow the food adventures of Hilton, Hefner, and Howard Hughes; the great transatlantic dynasties: Onassis, the Vanderbilts, the Astors and the Rothschilds. Royals watchers and history twitchers will find out the effect of too many fairy feasts on Ludwig of Bavaria; how Hirohito and Ibn Saud tasted East-Meets-West diplomacy. Would you try the cake that killed Rasputin or suck on a suicide sweet with Antony and Cleo? Was it sex or raspberry soufflé that won Mrs. Simpson a king’s heart? It’s all here: a succession of abdications, executions, revolutions, coronations, tales of toothache and posh picnics spiced with the odd military coup or two. Mind your manners now. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 356Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-1-4422-5227-1 • Hardback • October 2016 • $38.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4422-5228-8 • eBook • October 2016 • $37.99 • (£24.95)
Fiona Ross, like most of us, leads a double existence: in her ‘normal’ life as a writer of fiction in Bishop’s Stortford, U.K., Fiona keeps company with two bossy chickens and her dog, Parsnip. She spends a lot of time fishing chickens out of her bathtub and Parsnip out of the chicken run. In between, she stares into space a lot looking for inspiration for her stories. Meanwhile, her glamorous and exciting double works as a gastro-detective whose headquarters are the famous Bodleian Library in Oxford; she spends her time there pondering which sandwich filling she would prefer for lunch when she is not hot on the trail of a famous gastronome. The Dining with Destiny series is the result of just such weighty thoughts – oh, and a short-term memory problem which means that Fiona can never recall anything important like the date of a war or how to hoover, but can always be counted upon to remember how much jam Marx liked on his tarts. Time will tell which is the more important.
The superrich have the same needs to feed themselves as do the poorest peasants. But what they eat and in whose company they do it make for very different experiences. Ross has plumbed the depths of the Bodleian Library to document the eating (and mating) habits of luminaries and royals from ancient Rome to the present. Bursting with the juiciest morsels of gossip, Ross recounts meals consumed by famous and notorious characters. Aristotle Onassis’ marriages were to women who had food issues Maria Callas’ compulsive eating and Jackie Kennedy’s hungers for both food and affection. Royals and wannabes, from the Windsors to Grace Kelly to Nicholas II, were prone to the most idiosyncratic eating habits. The kitchens of Hugh Hefner’s renowned Playboy Mansion attracted guests almost as much as his notorious bunnies. In addition to her breezy text, Ross offers many recipes favored by these celebrities. An interesting choice for food microhistory fans.

Fiona Ross serves as our personal historical guide as we romp through the joyous time when royalty filled their dining tables with culinary delights with no expense spared. Each page jostles a smile as you gain entry into a time when calories, fat and sugar were not the enemy but instead the friend. Indeed; ignorance was bliss!
Sari Edelstein, PhD, RD, Professor of Nutrition, Director of the Nutrition Student Mentor Program; Director of the Simmons-Tufts DPD Program

This is food history as gossip, exuberantly written. Read it with one hand in the salt pot.
Paul Levy, PhD, FRSL, writer and journalist; co-author of The Official Foodie Handbook