Chef James W. Parkinson and the restaurant by his own surname--Parkinson's--are long gone from Philadelphia's dining scene. But in April of 1851, Chef Parkinson served a legendary 17-course, twelve-hour dinner that won a culinary duel between Philadelphia and New York's Delmonico's, a restaurant that was considered to be New York's finest. It was an epic event--not only for the regional pride of besting New York, but also for resetting the bar of dining excellence.

The cost of the meal for the 30 guests who enjoyed it, all of whom rose several times for standing ovations to punctuate Philadelphia's victory, was approximately $1,000 (roughly $32,000 today). Thanks to author Becky Libourel Diamond, you can re-live that meal, course-by-course, in her new book, "The Thousand Dollar Dinner," for far less.  Wine pairings (or their descriptions, at least) are included.

Diamond's brilliantly-researched and well-turned tome is a time machine for food geeks. Working through Chef Parkinson's menu course-by-course, Diamond elegantly serves up richly detailed historical context for each dish in such vivid and engaging detail--from the sourcing of ingredients, to course preparation, to dining etiquette--that you feel like you were actually at the dinner.  The Thousand Dollar Dinner is the Downton Abbey for dining devotees.  Even before the turtle soup is served, you are nostalgic not only for a meal that you never ate but also for a time in which you never lived.
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  • philafoodieChef James W. Parkinson and the restaurant by his own surname--Parkinson's--are long gone from Philadelphia's dining scene. But in April of 1851, Chef Parkinson served a legendary 17-course, twelve-hour dinner that won a culinary duel between Philadelphia and New York's Delmonico's, a restaurant that was considered to be New York's finest. It was an epic event--not only for the regional pride of besting New York, but also for resetting the bar of dining excellence.

    The cost of the meal for the 30 guests who enjoyed it, all of whom rose several times for standing ovations to punctuate Philadelphia's victory, was approximately $1,000 (roughly $32,000 today). Thanks to author Becky Libourel Diamond, you can re-live that meal, course-by-course, in her new book, "The Thousand Dollar Dinner," for far less. Wine pairings (or their descriptions, at least) are included.

    Diamond's brilliantly-researched and well-turned tome is a time machine for food geeks. Working through Chef Parkinson's menu course-by-course, Diamond elegantly serves up richly detailed historical context for each dish in such vivid and engaging detail--from the sourcing of ingredients, to course preparation, to dining etiquette--that you feel like you were actually at the dinner. The Thousand Dollar Dinner is the Downton Abbey for dining devotees. Even before the turtle soup is served, you are nostalgic not only for a meal that you never ate but also for a time in which you never lived.

  • phicklefoodsHow cool! Thanks for this. Definitely going to grab a copy of this!
  • chambubbles@jpv543 this sounds awesome!
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