Sunday, October 26, 2008

This is not just a Velociraptor Heart, this is a Madame Pamplemousse Velociraptor Heart in Red Wine...

Madame Pamplemousse and her Incredible Edibles - by Rupert Kingfisher, illustrated by Sue Hellard

A delicious little children's novel about the beauty of good cooking, true kindness and genuine personality, that's a bit like a warm, witty and slightly twisted mix-up between Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Patrick Suskind's Perfume. (Actually, it's not really like that at all, but I like the comparison anyway...and there is some truth to it.) A memorable read for those with big, inventive appetites and perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon, but not when you've got a rumbling tummy.

In the city of Paris, on the banks of the river, tucked away from the main street down a narrow, winding alley, there is a shop. A small, rather shabby-looking shop with faded paintwork, a dusty awning and dark, smoky windows. The sign above the door reads ‘Edibles’, as it is a food shop selling all kinds of rare and exotic delicacies. They are not just rare and they are not just exotic, for this shop belongs to Madame Pamplemousse, and she sells the strangest, the rarest, the most delicious, the most extraordinary, the most incredible-tasting edibles in the world.

Inside, the shop is cool and musty-smelling, lit only by candlelight. In the flickering shadows, great bunches of sausages and dried herbs, strings of garlic and chilli peppers, and giant salted meats hang from the ceiling. Rows of cheeses are laid out on beds of dark green leaves and all around there are shelves winding up to the ceiling, crammed with bottles and strangely shaped jars.

But look closer and you’ll find these aren’t just plain sausages, they’re sausages of Bison and Black Pepper, Wild Boar and Red Wine, and Minotaur Salami with Sage and Wild Thyme. Among the dried meats there are Salt-Cured Raptor Tails, Pterodactyl Bacon, Smoked Sabre-Toothed Tiger and Rolled Tyrannosaurus Rex Tongue. The cheeses are of an unimaginable smelliness, some dating back to medieval times, and each of the pots and jars have their contents written in fine, purple letters: Scorpion Tails in Smoked Garlic Oil, Crocodile Kidneys in Blueberry Wine, Cobra Brains in Black Butter, Roast Piranha with Raspberry Coulis, Electric Eel Pate with Garlic and Prunes, Great White Shark Fin in Banana Liquor and Giant Squid Tentacle in Jasmine-Scented Jelly.

Underneath the shop, down a winding spiral staircase, at the end of a long, dark corridor, there is a door. A door that is forever kept locked. For it is behind this door that Madame Pamplemousse cooks her rarest delicacy, a delicacy sold in the tiniest little jar with a label upon which nothing is written. The label is blank and the ingredients are a secret, since it is the single most delicious, the most extraordinary, the most incredible-tasting edible of them all….


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home