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OP: The Nero Wolfe Cookbook

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by Rex Stout
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One of the true great characters of American detective fiction, as every mystery lover knows, was also a devoted gourmand. Nero Wolfe—weighing somewhere in the high-200s—fueled himself with the finest foods, and while he consumed with abandon a shad roe en casserole, a duckling in Flemish olive sauce, or a crème Génoise, he also well knew what to drink with them. 

The man who brought him to life, Rex Stout (1886–1975) author of some 30-odd mystery novels as well as innumerable novellas, was no slouch himself, spending many long hours in the kitchen to make sure that he and his larger-than-life private eye would suffer no deprivation. 

Actually, looking after Wolfe was mainly in the hands of his sidekick Archie Goodwin, who seemed to anticipate all his needs, and his chef/major-domo Fritz Brenner who turned concept into delectable reality. Food and wine were not the subject of most of the stories, but they were always in the background, setting the tone and sometimes helping define the characters.

The Nero Wolfe Cookbook was written by Stout himself and the editors at Viking Press, who published it in 1973. Surrounding the 225 recipes is substantial narrative for Wolfe’s fans, linking each recipe to a specific story or to an event within the story. Generally the speaker is Stout himself, but incorporated are comments and observations from Archie and Fritz and sometimes, simply, the text itself. 

The recipes are wide-ranging—many very high level—lobster cardinal, capon Souvaroff (containing, among other ingredients, foie gras, black truffles, cognac, and Madeira); others, such as corn fritters and corned-beef hash, are much more down to earth. All a delight for those who truly enjoy food—or at least take pleasure in reading about it.

Our first printing copy is a solid Very Good, clean and unmarked, with an attractively-decorated case. The binding is strong. The dust jacket shows just light wear, with a few small closed tears (no missing paper) and some staining and scuffing to the front and rear; it is now in a mylar sleeve. In all respects a very good-looking copy.

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