I love reading the Nero Wolfe books. I have a total reader-crush on Archie Goodwin and I’m sure I’d be happy to sit and listen to Nero Wolfe expound on just about any subject for hours. In fact I’d like to merely sit and watch him think, with his hands clasped over his big belly and his lips pushing in and out, in and out, as his great big brain puts together all the clues and solves the mystery at hand.
One of the many things that fascinates me about the Nero Wolfe mysteries is the food that Wolfe consumes. Rex Stout, the brilliant creator of the rotund detective, doesn’t just use food and dining as an illustration of how Wolfe got, and remains, so large. Nor are they for Stout merely means of transition or indications of the passage of time.
Stout uses food as a character in the books. It is every bit as alive, as filled with personality and appeal–visual and olfactory, color and taste as any witness, victim or villain. Because, I presume, of many requests, Rex Stout wrote The Nero Wolfe Cookbook, chock full of recipes from the books plus the scenario in which each dish was consumed.
After rereading some of the Nero Wolfe books recently, I bought the cookbook. I haven’t tried very many of the recipes. As I suspected, a lot of them are complicated. But I had to check out Wolfe’s perfect scrambled eggs, which he claims take twenty minutes to cook. I don’t take quite that long, but I have to admit, his method of scrambling eggs makes them extremely light and pleasant on the tongue.
Another recipe I’ve made is Anchovy Toast — for my husband. I cannot ABIDE anchovies. It looks delicious — but to me it smells horrendous. He loved it. I plan to try the recipe using shrimp one day soon.
There are about six different recipes for duckling, which is one of my favorite meats. I plan to try several of them in the next year.Most of them differ in the type of sauce served with the duckling. One is called Rouennaise. Doesn’t that sound divine?