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Book review: John Saturnall's Feast, By Lawrence Norfolk


In another wonderfully arcane novel, Norfolk tells the story of 17th-century kitchen boy, John Saturnall, whose refined sense of smell allows him to identify the contents of any cooking pot.

In the strict new world of Puritan repression, the pleasures of food take on a deliciously illicit flavour, a development John will use to his advantage. Alongside intricately stuffed fowls, Norfolk writes of “quivering blancmanges” and such mystifying sauces as “black chawdron and bukkenade, sweet and sour egredouce, camelade and peppery gauncil."