During his two week book tour of America, Lawrence Norfolk sits down with Leonard Lopate to discuss the history of food in Britain and his most recent work JOHN SATURNALL'S FEAST.
Speaking about the cuisine of Britain during the 17th century, Norfolk relishes in the details of food preparation, saying that British food then was just as good as that of France and Italy.
JOHN SATURNALL'S FEAST tells the story of a young orphan who becomes a kitchen boy at a manor house and rises through the ranks to become the greatest cook of his time. It's a story of food, ancient myths, forbidden love and John's rise from outcast to hero through his sensuous cooking ability.
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Praise for JOHN SATURNALL'S FEAST:
'Dense in research and intellectual ambition…Norfolk's novels have always expanded their readers' vocabularies, and JOHN SATURNALL'S FEAST is no exception…What may come across as a novel indicting Protestantism's suppression of fun, sex and good food (it's Protestant groups who smash up the manor and lay waste to its subterranean kitchens where Saturnall finesses his culinary skills; it's civil war that destroys his supply lines and thwarts his surreptitious affair with Lucretia), is really a broader exploration of control.' -- Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian
'Norfolk, the author of ornate period novels, here uses his talent for detail to evoke the life of a cook of a seventeenth century British manor.' --The New Yorker
'Imaginative, quietly intricate and very well put together. All its strands are made to converge or mirror one another in a way that warms your heart.' -- Jonathan McAloon, The Spectator
'A feast…a groaning table laden with delicious and carefully made sweets …those happy to gobble up Norfolk's delectable fantasies of marchpane and spun sugar are in for a treat.' -- Diane Purkiss, The Independent