Review and Recipe

Review: The Lost King of France
by Deborah Cadbury  
In case you missed it, we had a bit of a theme this week with a selection of historical narratives.
We'll finish up with a great read that mixes science, suspense, and history.
In all of the books I’ve read about Marie Antoinette or the French revolution, the storyline usually ends with the Queen's death. The fate of her children, however, has been a mystery. Many in Europe today claim to be descendants of the lost Dauphin, with historians insisting that he actually died as a child, soon after his parents.
So many claimants to the throne came forward in the early 1800s. that Mark Twain even included a joke about the missing Dauphin in Huckleberry Finn. One serious contender, a Prussian named Karl Wilhelm Naundorff, was so convincing that he had his own courtiers and his descendants today still believe they are the heirs to the French throne. Naundorff even convinced the only survivor to the royal bloodbath, the Dauphin's sister Marie-Therese.
So what did happen to the young prince? This book lays out what we do know, including one of the most realistic and detailed accounts about the barbaric treatment of Marie Antoinette’s son that I've ever read. The viciousness of the Parisian mobs and the lack of any sympathy for a little boy of eight is shocking in the extreme.
The royal family's imprisonment isn’t treated as the opening act to the final guillotine’s blow, but rather an essential part of the narrative, so readers are given every gripping detail, many of which were taken from letters, journals, and official papers of the day. So many witnesses wanted to share their stories as the government flipped from royalist to republican and back again that there is quite a bit to work from. However, the fate of the prince is lost as he enters a final prison and seemingly disappears. The government insisted that he died of an illness, but did he?
Fast-forward to today’s world of science and technology. In a hidden corner of a cathedral rests a small heart, reportedly that of the lost prince. It's own history is one of intrigue and adventure. The heart was dropped, left in a dust heap, stolen, and finally hidden by the Archbishop of Paris. It’s amazing that it survived.
Scientists decided to use that tiny heart to test the DNA of known descendants of Marie-Therese, a process that was only possible thanks to the habit of those during the 18th century to keep locks of hair from loved ones.
In 2000, the mystery was solved. Did the heart belong to the Dauphin? You'll have to read the book to find out or you can Google it. Even if you already know the answer, this page turner will have you looking at every clue with fresh eyes.  (2002 - St. Martin’s Press)

Recipe: Bad-for-Your-Heart Sauce
One thing the French know how to do is delicious food without all the hang-ups. I have used this beurre blanc recipe from Julia Child for years. But, being an uptight American, I only bring it out for super-nice occasions. It goes fabulously with fish, chicken, vegetables ― it would probably make a paper napkin taste amazing. It is also heart-cloggingly bad, which makes it perfect for our book review.
1 cup of butter, must be cold and cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper (white if you are picky)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
In small saucepan, heat white wine vinegar with salt, pepper, and shallot. Bring to a low boil and let it reduce down to just a couple of teaspoons of liquid while whisking to avoid sticking. Here comes the interesting part ― remove from heat and drop 2 tablespoons of the butter into the liquid and begin to whisk with a wire whisk. This just does not work as well with a rubberized whisk. Put the pan back on low heat and continue to add the butter, whisking it into the sauce until you have used all of the butter. Taste for seasoning and then serve when it is completely combined and creamy.

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