Part history, part memoir, and part cookbook, Fannie’s Last Supper is a wonderfully written story of the book and one man’s quest to create a twelve-course dinner representative of those created by the original readers of Farmer’s 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Leaving no stone unturned, Chris Kimball gives us a real feeling for the life, times, and cooking of Fannie Farmer. His research for authentic equipment (including his stove), ingredients, and methods is a reminder of the importance of historical recreation when understanding traditional food production, handling, and service.
Overall, it is a wonderfully written volume and deserves a place on the shelf of any serious foodie, historian, or anthropologist interested in Victoriana. The book does a couple of minor faults. First, that the jumps between the historical and the modern are occasionally abrupt. Second, while the history is certainly competent, it does not paint a complete picture of the period because of its focus on Fannie and Boston. This focus is natural and useful for the scope of the work, but it left me wanting to know how it the local history varied with that of New York, D.C., or even London.
Definitely worth checking out and putting on your next reading list!