Publishers Weekly Reviews
In this heavily researched history, Polish journalist Szablowski (Dancing Bears) shares the stories of six personal chefs of five dictators, among them Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Enver Hoxhas, and Pol Pot. These are the kinds of stories only a chef could know: whether it's being accused of poisoning Amin and being exiled, or having to pay Hussein for the wasted meat if he found it oversalted, the chefs Szablowski interviewed divulge morsels of character from their respective rulers. Each chef elaborates on the dictator's favorite dish—such as Amin's Roasted Goat (stuffed with "rice, potatoes, carrots, parsley, peas," recalls chef Otonde Odera) and Hussein's Thieves' Fish Soup—and tells stories of their unsettling attributes (Pol Pot "had an incredible sense of humor. He was like a clown, he really was," his unnamed chef recalls) and, in some cases, their eventual demise. Throughout, Szablowski entertains with disturbing rumors, such as Amin eating human flesh (whatever the case, his chef never cooked it for him), and strange obsessions (Castro preferred the milk from a single cow named Ubre Blanca, or "white udder"). Food and history buffs will find these firsthand accounts irresistible. (Apr.)
Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.
"Traveling across four continents, from the ruins of Iraq to the savannahs of Kenya, Witold Szab±owski tracked down the personal chefs of five dictators known for the oppression and massacre of their own citizens: Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Uganda's Idi Amin, Albania's Enver Hoxha, Cuba's Fidel Castro, and Cambodia's Pol Pot-and listened to their stories over sweet-and-sour soup, goat-meat pilaf, bottles of rum, and games of gin rummy. Dishy, deliciously readable, and dead serious, How to Feed a Dictator provides a knife's-edge view of what it was like to be behind the scenes at some of the turning points of the last century"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
An award-winning Polish journalist, traveling across four continents, visits the kitchens of the 20th century’s most infamous dictators, providing a knife’s-edge view of what it was like to be behind the scenes at some of the turning points of the last century. Original. Maps. - (Baker & Taylor)
“Amazing stories . . . Intimate portraits of how [these five ruthless leaders] were at home and at the table.” —Lulu Garcia-Navarro, NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday
Anthony Bourdain meets Kapuscinski in this chilling look from within the kitchen at the appetites of five of the twentieth century's most infamous dictators, by the acclaimed author of Dancing Bears.
What was Pol Pot eating while two million Cambodians were dying of hunger? Did Idi Amin really eat human flesh? And why was Fidel Castro obsessed with one particular cow?
Traveling across four continents, from the ruins of Iraq to the savannahs of Kenya, Witold Szablowski tracked down the personal chefs of five dictators known for the oppression and massacre of their own citizens—Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Uganda’s Idi Amin, Albania’s Enver Hoxha, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Cambodia’s Pol Pot—and listened to their stories over sweet-and-sour soup, goat-meat pilaf, bottles of rum, and games of gin rummy. Dishy, deliciously readable, and dead serious, How to Feed a Dictator provides a knife’s-edge view of life under tyranny. - (Penguin Putnam)