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Napoleon's Chicken Marengo (Hardback)

Creating the Myth of the Emperor's Favourite Dish

Napoleonic All Frontline Books Frontline: Napoleonic Era Frontline: General History

By Andrew Uffindell
Frontline Books
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781848325784
Published: 26th September 2011

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This remarkable work tells the story of Chicken Marengo, and cuts through the tangle of myths that has sprung up around it. Supposedly created on the evening of Napoleon's victory at Marengo, the dish rapidly conquered Paris, and became a renowned symbol of French haute cuisine.

The author sets the dish in its context explaining the nail-biting drama of Napoleon's Marengo campaign and the remarkable frenzy of rejoicing unleashed in Paris by the news of his victory. The author argues that the dish is part of a wider myth that Napoleon spun around the battle itself. Uncomfortably aware of just how close he had come to disaster, he rewrote the official account of Marengo. Determined to exploit the political impact of the victory to the full, he portrayed it as a masterly manoeuvre, rather than a near-defeat salvaged largely by luck.

Napoleon's Chicken Marengo demonstrates the persistency of popular myth in shaping perceptions of pivotal events. Uffindel sheds startling light on Napoleon's extraordinary and yet elusive character, and reveals just how effectively he spun a myth around the amount of food he ate in order to project a positive image of himself.

A whole cast of other, unforgettable characters enlivens the story of Chicken Marengo, from Napoleon's bickering generals, to celebrity chefs, colourful adventurers, acclaimed artists, fabulously wealthy eccentrics, and famous writers such as William Makepeace Thackeray.

As seen in BBC History Magazine

BBC History Magazine

I’m giving this book to my father, Albert Roux. The story goes that the traditionally French dish chicken Marengo was created by Napoleon Bonaparte’s chef in celebration of Napoleon’s win at the Battle of Marengo in 1800. The book covers French history and delicious food, both of which are loves of mine and my father’s. It’s almost as though it was written for the Rouxs! I’m halfway through it and it’s brilliantly entertaining and educational. What more could you want from a book? Plus I do love chicken Marengo.

Michel Roux Jr

Napoleon's Chicken Marengo is a fascinating and very informative account of a battle, a culinary dish and Napoleon. The author has weaved these seperate stories into one very readable narrative. It is a unique take on these stories and I would recommend this book be in any library of books on Napoleon.

The Waterloo Archive

This fascinating book tells the story of chicken marengo, and examines the mythology that has grown around it. It is an unusual story, but one that is enlightening and also a very good read, I found it hard to put down. Napoleon's chicken Marengo is a fascinating and very informative account of a battle, a culinary dish and Napoleon. The author has weaved these separate stories into one very readable narrative. It is a unique take on these stories and i would recommend this book be in any library of books on Napoleon.

Paul Chamberlain, The Waterloo Journal

An engaging read. Most of the stories reward the reader with an item of interest or a humorous or quirky observation.

Avon Napoleonic Fellowship

Fascinating read about Napoleon and what he ate, the French food of the Napoleonic Empire, and the impact of chicken marengo on French cuisine over the past 200 years. It is an entertaining book that will be appreciated by both the serious Napoleonic scholar and those who enjoy good food!

Napoleon Series

In this imaginative book Andrew Uffindell gives you more than you bargin for. The author interweaves the story of the Battle of Marengo with that of the world-famous dish which took it's name.

Soldier Magazine

[The book] cuts through the tangle of myths that has sprung up around this famous dish.

Olla-Podrida
 Andrew Uffindell

About Andrew Uffindell

Andrew Uffindel is one of the leading experts on the Napoleonic era. He is the author of many books and articles in this field, including The National Army Museum book of Wellington’s Armies; Napoleon’s Immortals, Napoleon 1814 and Waterloo Commanders.

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