Review: The General’s Cook

Amy's Scrap Bag: A Blog About Libraries, Archives, and History

Review: The General’s Cook by Ramin Ganeshram

Arcade Publishing, 2018.  Hardcover, 400 pages.Cover: The General's Cook

Opening in 1793 Philadelphia, this novel follows President Geroge Washingotn’s chef, the slave Hercules.  Despite being a slave, Hercules is given many freedoms and commands his kitchen like the former general did his battlefields.  When a day’s work was done, Hercules could go about town and had many encounters that changed him. He also earned a salary, attended the theater, and did the kitchen shopping himself.

Over the course of the 3-4 years of the novel, readers will follow Hercules’s interactions with those around him and learn how meticulous he was about his cooking. Hercules spent a great deal of time teaching two of his kitchen staff, slave Nate and indentured servant Margaret, how to cook.  He also watches the forbidden romance between the two blossom. On his outings, Hercules branches beyond the usual to have his…

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