Young, Carolin C.
Young, Carolin C.
Christie's, New York, NY, worked in public relations; James Robinson, Inc., New York, NY, former researcher; Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York, NY, former lecturer; Context Paris, France, scholar and lecturer. Member, Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery.
Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver: Stories of Dinner as a Work of Art, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
In Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver: Stories of Dinner as a Work of Art, culinary historian Carolin C. Young describes the menus, settings, and historical contexts of twelve dinner parties from the middle ages to the 1930s. Young makes a distinction between eating and dining, showing that a dinner is not just about food but is a whole aesthetic experience. In the dinners featured in her book, this experience could include not only gastronomic delicacies but also special lighting, utensils, music, and even perfumes. One of the chapters in Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver describes a feast held near Florence, Italy, on November 7, 1468, and hosted by the young Lorenzo de Medici. This dinner, which Young recreated at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City in 2002, was, according to New York Times writer Emily Eaken, "an experiment in Neoplatonist ideals of friendship and harmony that, [Young] insisted, ‘really did change the way Western civilization thought about the meal.’" Guests discussed philosophy and poetry at the table and enjoyed an array of splendid foods and wines, some dusted with powdered gold. Particularly radical was the emphasis on the sensual pleasures of dining, involving not just the palate but all the other senses as well. As Young explained to Eaken, this event was an example of a new attitude toward dining: "It was about feeding our ideas and the exchange of friendship as well as about feeding the body."
Critics found Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver a stimulating and enjoyable book. A Kirkus Reviews contributor, for example, called it an "extravagant paean to the import of dining," while a reviewer for Publishers Weekly observed that "each chapter becomes a wonderful, individual snapshot of the past."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 2002, Mark Knoblauch, review of Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver: Stories of Dinner as a Work of Art, p. 634.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002, review of Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver, p. 1296.
Library Journal, November 15, 2002, Mary A. Russell, review of Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver, p. 94.
New York Times, November 30, 2002, Emily Eakin, "A Neoplatonic Feast (It's Soul Food)."
Publishers Weekly, October 21, 2002, review of Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver, p. 68.