The Hundred-Foot Journey, by Richard C. Morais
When I saw that the author of The Hundred-Foot Journey: A Novel
, Richard Morais, was giving a reading at Orell Füssli, I decided to order the book and go to the event. While I waited for my copy to arrive, Starr Schoell emailed me, “I read the sample of The Hundred-Foot Journey on my Kindle last night—it’s very good, but it made me hungry, so I’m making Daddy’s Creamy Chicken (my all-time favorite chicken masala), bhindi bhaji, mango chutney and eggplant raita for dinner!”
Yes, delicious meals with family and friends play a starring role in the life of the protagonist, Hassan. He was born into a big family in which everyone worked in the family’s Mumbai restaurant. Hassan says, “ . . . my first sensation of life was the smell of machli ka salan, a spicy fish curry, rising through the floorboards.” From there, we follow Hassan to his destiny as Paris’ top chef.
The story’s many unexpected twists and turns are intertwined with fascinating cooking and oddities of epicurean history. We learn that during the Franco-Prussian War starving Parisians ate rats. “The 1871 edition of Larousse Gastronomique, quite simply the text of classic French cuisine, recommended skinning and gutting rats found in wine cellars––so much more flavorful.”