It is so easy to see gourmands and chefs and to believe that they are somehow separated from the world of carelessly eating mortals. And they are, in a way. In another way, they are potentially more aware of the varieties of hunger and suffering because of the human need to eat.Madame Escoffier is living the last of her days. She has been married to Monsieur Escoffier for more than 30 years, most of them not lived together. He is a chef, a master chef, the man who redefined French cuisine. Sarah Bernhardt is the woman who was his lover. Madame wants one last thing from her husband in their waning years: a dish for her, named after her.How does food communicate a life? How can it avoid doing just that?This novel of love and war and living is an engaging read that has me craving garlic and the smell of ocean air.
November 2011 Indie Next List
“This richly layered novel is based on the life of legendary chef Auguste Escoffier, who popularized French cooking methods at his restaurants at The Savoy and The Ritz at the beginning of the 20th century. Escoffier's love for two women: the beautiful, iconic actress Sarah Bernhardt and his lovely, poetess wife, Delphine Daffis, is at the heart of this complex tale. The characters are vivid and the food -- oh, the food -- is delicious!”
— Erica Caldwell, Present Tense, Batavia, NY
White Truffles in Winter imagines the world of the remarkable French chef Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935), who changed how we eat through his legendary restaurants at the Savoy and the Ritz. A man of contradictions kind yet imperious, food-obsessed yet rarely hungry Escoffier was also torn between two women: the famous, beautiful, and reckless actress Sarah Bernhardt and his wife, the independent and sublime poet Delphine Daffis, who refused ever to leave Monte Carlo. In the last year of Escoffier's life, in the middle of writing his memoirs, he has returned to Delphine, who requests a dish in her name as he has honored Bernhardt, Queen Victoria, and many others. How does one define the complexity of love on a single plate? N. M. Kelby brings us the sensuality of food and love amid a world on the verge of war in this work that shimmers with beauty and longing.
About the Author
N. M. Kelby is the critically acclaimed author of In the Company of Angels, Whale Season, and the Florida Book Award winner A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts, among other works. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.