Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

Genre: Fiction, Adventure
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 318
Source: Library

The Short Version:
In 1819 a chef is kidnapped by a beautiful pirate and threatened with death if she doesn’t like the Sunday dinner he prepares.

Why I Read It:
A member of my LibraryThing group recommended it and it sounded like a lot of fun.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by a beautiful yet ruthless pirate. He will be spared, Mad Hannah Mabbot tells him, as long as he can conjure an exquisite meal every Sunday from the ship’s meager supplies. While Wedgwood attempts to satisfy his captor with feats such as tea-smoked eel and pineapple-banana cider, he realizes that Mabbot herself is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. But there is a method to Mabbot’s madness, and as the Flying Rose races across the ocean, Wedgwood learns to rely on the bizarre crew members he once feared: a formidable giant who loves to knit; a pair of stoic martial arts masters, sworn to defend their captain; and the ship’s deaf cabin boy, who becomes the son he never had.

An anarchic tale of love and appetite, Eli Brown’s Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a wildly original feat of the imagination, deep and startling as the sea itself.

My Thoughts:
Oh I enjoyed this one. Give Pirates of the Caribbean a female captain and add a bit of Top Chef and you’ll end up with a whole bunch of fun.

When Mad Hannah Mabbot kidnaps Owen Wedgewood and forces him to create weekly culinary masterpieces or die he really doesn’t have much choice. While he spends much of the book planning and attempting escape he also manages to create some creative culinary magic and make me laugh along the way.

On Sauerkraut:

Like hams and men, it gets better with age only to a point.

Regarding the culinary uses of a cannonball after obtaining a box of assorted spices

A few of these were not ground, and I set to the task of rolling the cannonball over them. The missile serves for a pestle almost as well as it did for a rolling pin. If I ever work in a proper kitchen again, I may have to bring one along.

I might need to get The Hubster to read this before I try convincing him I need a Kitchen Cannonball.

There’s plenty of foodie fun as well as plenty of swashbuckling action in this one.

It was predictable in spots and completely surprising in others but I enjoyed the adventure and you should give it at try.

4 stars Rating 4/5