Fannie's Last Supper

Re-creating One Amazing Meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 Cookbook
By Christopher Kimball (Hardcover Book, 2010)
In the mid-1990s, Chris Kimball moved into an 1859 Victorian townhouse on the South End of Boston and, as he became accustomed to the quirks and peculiarities of the house and neighborhood, he began to wonder what it was like to live and cook in that era. In particular, he became fascinated with Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Published in 1896, it was the best-selling cookbook of its age-full of odd, long-forgotten ingredients, fascinating details about how the recipes were concocted, and some truly amazing dishes (as well as some awful ones).

In Fannie's Last Supper, Kimball describes the experience of re-creating one of Fannie Farmer's amazing menus: a twelve-course Christmas dinner that she served at the end of the century. Kimball immersed himself in composing twenty different recipes-including rissoles, Lobster À l'AmÉricaine, Roast Goose with Chestnut Stuffing and Jus, and Mandarin Cake-with all the inherent difficulties of sourcing unusual animal parts and mastering many now-forgotten techniques, including regulating the heat on a coal cookstove and boiling a calf's head without its turning to mush, all sans food processor or oven thermometer. Kimball's research leads to many hilarious scenes, bizarre tastings, and an incredible armchair experience for any reader interested in food and the Victorian era.

Fannie's Last Supper includes the dishes from the dinner and revised and updated recipes from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. A culinary thriller. it offers a fresh look at something that most of us take for granted-the American table.
  • Hyperion
    • Format: Hardcover Book

    • Price: $25.99 US

    • ISBN-13: 9781401323226

    • On Sale Date: 10/05/2010

    • Publisher: Hyperion

    • Imprint: Hyperion

    Formats Available: Hardcover Book, Electronic Book

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In the mid-1990s, Chris Kimball moved into an 1859 Victorian townhouse on the South End of Boston and, as he became accustomed to the quirks and peculiarities of the house and neighborhood, he began to wonder what it was like to live and cook in that era. In particular, he became fascinated with Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Published in 1896, it was the best-selling cookbook of its age-full of odd, long-forgotten ingredients, fascinating details about how the recipes were concocted, and some truly amazing dishes (as well as some awful ones).

In Fannie's Last Supper, Kimball describes the experience of re-creating one of Fannie Farmer's amazing menus: a twelve-course Christmas dinner that she served at the end of the century. Kimball immersed himself in composing twenty different recipes-including rissoles, Lobster À l'AmÉricaine, Roast Goose with Chestnut Stuffing and Jus, and Mandarin Cake-with all the inherent difficulties of sourcing unusual animal parts and mastering many now-forgotten techniques, including regulating the heat on a coal cookstove and boiling a calf's head without its turning to mush, all sans food processor or oven thermometer. Kimball's research leads to many hilarious scenes, bizarre tastings, and an incredible armchair experience for any reader interested in food and the Victorian era.

Fannie's Last Supper includes the dishes from the dinner and revised and updated recipes from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. A culinary thriller. it offers a fresh look at something that most of us take for granted-the American table.

Chris Kimball founded Cook's Magazine in 1980; it has grown to a paid circulation of 1,000,000. He hosts America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country, which are the top-rated cooking shows on public television, reaching 2 million viewers per week in over 94% of American households. Kimball is a regular contributor to both the Today Show and the CBS Early Show. He has been written up in most major newspapers, many national magazines including The New Yorker and Time, and regularly contributes to NPR's Morning Edition, including doing a regular Thanksgiving segment. He will also host a public radio show on cooking starting in the fall of 2010.
  • "Chris's "Fannie" project is the most ambitious cooking undertaking I've ever witnessed outside of a restaurant opening. And as one of the devourers of the ultimate meal, I can tell you it was worth at, at least for me. (I would travel 200 miles for the jellies alone.) But the account of the making of the meal, told here in winning style, is just as impressive: part history and part contemporary journalism, it's a fascinating story and absolutely unique." (Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything).

  • "Fannie's Last Supper is a splendid book with recipes and narrative that is based on a twelve-course dinner right out of the back pages of the original 1896 Boston School Cookbook written by Fannie Farmer. How fantastic is that, traveling back in time to rethink the cooking of the future. A great, informative read with tempting recipes. Bravo!" (Lidia Bastianich).

  • "A dynamic and entertaining book for chefs and home cooks alike. Christopher Kimball delves into the life, times, and recipes of Fannie Farmer, and creates an educational and delicious twelve-course menu that any food lover can sink their teeth into." (Daniel Humm, Executive Chef, Eleven Madison Park).

  • "Kimball intersperses accounts of his 21st-century experiment with insightful, meticulously researched discussions of Farmer herself and the food culture of Boston (and America) in her day." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

  • "Kimball, founder of Cook's Illustrated and host of the PBS series America's Test Kitchen, spent more than two years of "research, recipe testing, and intense planning" in order to host a Victorian dinner based on the recipes of Fannie Farmer, author of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, which was first published in 1896. Kimball is as exhaustive in his research as he is in one of his own test recipes for Cook's Illustrated, and fans of his work will appreciate his attention to even the smallest morsel of information. Kimball is off on a culinary and historical adventure as he literally traces Fannie Farmer's steps around Boston at the turn of the century, regaling the reader with a history of Boston, observations of the Victorian character, manner of dress, and cooking implements and appliances available. In the meantime, his own team has been assembled and they are methodically testing recipes and ingredients in Kimball's 1859 red-brick Boston bowfront. All this work culminates in a foodie's dream dinner party, complete with Victorian plate settings, an all-star guest list, and 12 courses you won't find in any restaurant today. A must-read for history buffs, home cooks, and professional chefs alike." (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly (starred review)).

  • "Fannie's Last Supper is a great addition to the library of a cook, or historian, or foodie, and the recipes provided by Kimball make it easy to attempt to re-create a genuine Victorian meal." (San Francisco Chronicle).

  • "What a piece of work Christopher Kimball has pulled off. Read this book and join the escapade into what Chris calls the most progressive era in the history of the world. No, it wasn't ten years ago, it was 110 years ago -- the world of Victorian America and Fanny Farmer. Not a jota of dreamy pseudo-food history survives here. Instead, Chris challenges, provokes, entertains and maybe even outrages our sensibilities. One thing is sure, if he gets his way, you will be rethinking some of today's accepted political culinary wisdom." (Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of The Splendid Table).

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Product Details

Cover Image Not Found
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Price: $25.99 US
  • Pages: 272
  • Physical Dimensions: 6-1/8" x 9-1/4"
  • Audio Run Time: 0
  • ISBN-13: 9781401323226
  • On Sale Date: 10/05/2010