To Set Before the King: Katharina Schratt's Festive Recipes

Gertrud G. Champe, Editor, Louis Szathmary, Translator, Paula Von Haimberger Arno, Translator University of Iowa Press $27.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87745-535-6
Some fancy footwork is done here to link this 1905 collection of Austrian recipes, part of the Iowa Szathmary Culinary Arts Series, to Emperor Franz Joseph I and his longtime friend, the actress Katharina Schratt. Although the notebook containing these recipes has ""property of Kath. Schratt"" written inside, the recipe writer's identity is unknown, and a leap is made in assuming that these are recipes she would have served to her royal friend. The relationship between Schratt and the emperor is a fascinating one, however. Apparently, his wife hand-picked Schratt to keep him company during her absence, and the actress became his window into the life of his subjects. As for the well-annotated recipes, they are interesting as historical artifacts (particularly the names, many of which, like Cookies a la Sarah Bernhardt and Fillet a la Walter Scott, were given in homage to popular figures of the time). But few readers will rush to whip up Brain Croquettes. However, any fin de siecle Viennese theme party (where guests come dressed as Wittgenstein, Freud and Alma Mahler) would benefit from the cheerful section titled ""Bring Vienna to Your Table!"" Written by chef Louis Szathmary, it offers suggested menus and a list of mail-order sources. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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