Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles is a bit of a mouthful, and so, I believe, is her cooking. This is a short and charming little story by a new author, Rupert Kingfisher. Very elegant kind of name for a writer, I think. The book is elegant, too, looking like some posh lilac, striped wallpaper, with pictures that make you think of Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl. In this case the illustrations are by Sue Hellard.
Personally I’d have preferred any colour but lilac, or pink, to prevent the book having too girlie an appeal. There’s enough of pickled snake and jellied frogs (or stuff like that, revolting food…) to appeal to boys as well. So, wrong colour, I think.
Little Madeleine has to spend all her holidays with horrible uncle Lard in his charmless Paris restaurant. She’s Cinderella-like; can cook like a dream (she’s nine, I think), but gets to do the washing up. Enter mysterious cat and his mysterious lady owner in their mysterious, and I think revolting, food shop, and everything is turned upside down.
I can’t get the word “Ratatouille” out of my head. I hope Rupert wrote his book before the film, because there are lots of similarities. Anyway, this should appeal to foodie, Francophile parents.
My vegetarian instincts kicked in too early to thoroughly enjoy Madame’s food, but I was reminded of the time when we were invited to taste Edam (that very normal and slightly boring cheese) that the shop owner had let mature for three and a half years, just to see what would happen. The Edam nearly walked out of the shop unaided, is what happened. I’ll never forget it.