Review - The Reluctant Cannibals by Ian Flitcroft


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An ARC was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review

Rules of the Gastronomic Society

Rule One
All members must be fellows of St. Jerome's College, Oxford.

Rule Two

All members must ascribe to the gastronomic principles pronounced by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

Rule Three

The Faculty must hold a dinner of gastronomic significance in the eighth week of each term.

Rule Four

Each member must invite one guest per dinner and ensure that their guest presents a new dish to the Faculty.

Rule Five

The Faculty must ensure that no dish is served more than once with the exception of a truffled turkey, which is to be served each year at the Michaelmas dinner.

Rule Six

A member of the Faculty is elected for life unless they breach rules one, two, or four.

Rule Seven
'The Shadow Faculty will remain in existence until the University of Oxford inaugurates an official Faculty of Gastronomic Science.

Arthur Plantagenet is dying. Dilated caridiomyopathy and there isn't much the doctor can do. Rather than wallow in self pity Arthur see's this as an opportunity and decides to take his doctors advice quite literally:

"My only advice is that if there is anything you haven't yet tasted I'd suggest you try it soon. I don't know how much longer this heart of yours will keep ticking"

Some of the dishes include Fugu (Also known as the blowfish), Beaver tails, Witchety grubs and horse meat Wellington. The feedback is mixed. Arthur decides that the gastronomic society needs to tackle the ultimate taboo, cannibalism. Or Anthroprophagy, as Arthur prefers to call it. This experiment will not just be for mere taste. It will be for society.

"The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star"

Seeing as Arthur wont be around for much longer he decides to offer himself after death in the name of gastronomy and spends his remaining time pickling himself with various foods and alcohols. To improve the flavour of course. 

The climax is surprising, shocking and funny all at the same time. A very important lesson is learned:

"For all our superiority, humans cannot compare for flavour with a mere pig or humble crustacean. So moral's apart, one shouldn't eat people on the grounds of sheer good taste"

This book was bloody brilliant. One of the best I've read so far this year. I loved the gallows humour and the eccentricity of the characters. If your looking for a humorous quirky read then take a bite out of the reluctant cannibals!

Sláinte! (an Irish toast)


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