Reading Too Many Cooks - Spoilers

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Reading Too Many Cooks - Spoilers

1MrsLee
Fev 8, 2021, 11:05 am

I began reading this again last night. Being one of my favorites, I have read it several times. Will see if I can make myself post about some of it rather than get so caught up in the story I gobble it down before I've thought much about it.

I am reading it in my omnibus Kings Full of Aces and I see that there are quite a few recipes at the end, including one for the sausages! (I'm not going to try to spell the name without a reference in front of me) So I will be trying some of those when I'm finished reading. Even though I have The Nero Wolfe Cookbook, I've yet to try many of the recipes, being more of a home cook and eater rather than a gourmand.

When I first fell in love with Nero and Archie, my husband would buy me the new paperback releases of the books in the 1990s. They are starting to fall apart due to us both reading them (not to mention my brother and mother) several times, so I am trying to get the whole collection in hardcover. Due to space, I have gifted the duplicate paperbacks to other mystery lovers. Now I'm rather sad I did, because those editions each had prefaces and original material included which isn't elsewhere. Ah well, much as I would like to be like a dragon and have ALL the books, I cannot.

2rosalita
Fev 8, 2021, 11:09 am

>1 MrsLee: I have a lot of those 1990s Bantam reprints with the introductions and the extra things at the back. I am slowly replacing them with ebook editions, most of which were created from those paperbacks and also include the introductions and other material. I'm guessing you prefer paper books to electronic, however, so that may not be helpful to you. (I do, too, but my limited space and aging eyes have made ebooks much more attractive.)

3MrsLee
Fev 8, 2021, 1:31 pm

>2 rosalita: I do read ebooks, but so long as I have a house to live in, certain books will always remain with me. There may come a time however, when due to either weight or size of print, I may have to get them in an ebook version as well!

4MrsLee
Fev 13, 2021, 12:22 pm

Here I go, caught up in the story and not posting about the journey.

Some thoughts. This is the first book where the phrase, "A guest is a jewel on the cushion of hospitality." Is used I think. That is a phrase which has stuck with me for a long time. Especially after reading the Dresden novels and situations in them involving host and guest and the rules thereof. :)

Most people tend to remember the whole meeting with the Black Americans in this novel and the way Wolfe "deals" with them (by treating them as equal men). However, I was also struck by the small speech the Chinese wife, Lio Cohn, (that's from memory, might not have the name correct) gave. It also hit at the heart of bigotry towards American Chinese in America.

Also, I've been musing on Archie and his word choices/descriptions of other characters. I have to say, that if he is rude, etc. He is pretty even-handed about it towards everyone! His sharp and unflattering descriptions are for men, women, old, young, ugly, beautiful and any race or religion. It seems to be his way of distancing himself, or projecting the persona of "hard-boiled detective." One might say he was disgruntled with the human race, if his actions didn't bely him.

It made me laugh when he started talking about "leg jealousy" and how he worked to talk himself out of it, then became the amused spectator.

5Javman83
Fev 13, 2021, 11:44 pm

>4 MrsLee: Excellent observations! Archie does indeed come across that way in much of his musings.

6MrsLee
Fev 14, 2021, 8:42 pm

I finished the book today. For a book which has so much to say about race relations, it strikes me that none of it comes across as preachy or moralizing. The discussions are integral to the plot and characters.

I spent some amusing time with Google images looking for Swamp Women. Of course most are from the 1950 movie. None of the images were what Archie described. I see Sophia Loren, an evil Sophia Loren, when he talks about Dina and her miasma.

Have read the recipes at the end and I gotta say I'm not that inspired to try most of them. Some, possibly. The one for sausage has no quantities, which isn't really a deterent, but not having easy access to goose and pheasant is. Lots of the recipes are centered on an inaccessible ingredient, or undesirable. Terrapin, opossum, rabbit, shad roe, kidneys, tripe and so forth. Oh well.

7rosalita
Editado: Fev 15, 2021, 11:29 am

>4 MrsLee: I agree with your observations of Archie being an equal-opportunity insulter, Mrs. Lee. The first Wolfe book I read was If Death Ever Slept and I still remember the line (paraphrased by me because I don't have the book to hand): "The toughest guy I ever met had cheeks that needed a brassiere" which was extremely funny to 12-year-old Julia.

And thanks for mentioning Lio Coyne's comments. I appreciate how Stout uses Archie as a reflection of what might be considered the "regular Joe" attitude toward various ethnicities, while using Wolfe and the characters' words and action themselves to present the more equitable viewpoint.

I had forgotten about the "leg jealousy" bit! This really was maybe the first of the early Wolfe novels that I felt really captured Archie's wit and personality as we would come to know it through the series.

8MrsLee
Fev 15, 2021, 12:29 pm

> 7 And can't you just see the picture of the man whose cheeks needed a brassiere? :) Archie gets to observe things many of us might have a thought of, but are taught better manners than to say! Well, at least those of us who tend to be somewhat sarcastic in our observations...

9rosalita
Fev 15, 2021, 12:32 pm

>8 MrsLee: Yes! I had an instant picture in my head and still do all these years later. I think that's why I like Archie so much — we are kindred spirits in sass. :-)