Running out of ideas for your next dinner party? Why not serve up a dish based on the tastes of some of history's most blood-thirsty tyrants. A new book, Dictators' Dinners by Victoria Clark & Melissa Scott, will show you how.
Part Delia Smith, part The World at War, it looks at 25 of history's most notorious dictators, gives an outline of their place in history, provides a short essay on each figureheads habits and table manners, and then offers up one or two of their favourite recipes for you to try for yourself.
On Stalin for instance, the pair write:
Traditional Georgian feasting lent itself perfectly to the sort of lethal power-play which helped to maintain him in power. A Georgian toastmaker – a tamada – at first controls his fellow diners’ access to alcohol by the length of his opening speech, and thereafter too by ensuring that more and more is drunk to prevent any injury to the host’s pride in his hospitality. Drinking games – Guess the Temperature was one of Stalin’s favourites – reduced many guests to his Kuntsevo dacha outside Moscow or one of his many summer residences to vomiting, incontinent wrecks.
And of Mussolini:
However pressing affairs of state or extra-marital love, Mussolini ate lunch and dinner at home, with Rachele and their five children. Always punctual, he liked everyone else to be seated and ready by the time he arrived. He presided over a long oval table, encouraging stimulating discussion and airing of opinions. The long, formal meals at the royal palace as the guest of King Victor Emmanuel III were something he abhorred.
The 190 page hardcover book is out now, priced £14.95. Here's a tasting menu of a few of the dictators' favourite meals you can find inside:
Before he turned vegetarian, Hitler enjoyed Pigeon stuffed with tongue, liver and pistachios.
The Fascist leader would chow down on chopped raw garlic with oil and lemon, believing it would strengthen his heart.
Pol Pot would lap up a good cobra stew, consisting of mashed snake, peanuts, lemon grass and ginger.
Fish-loving Hussein would eat Samak Masgouf regularly - carp, seasoned and slow-grilled on an open air barbecue.
Gaddafi's favourite was Mbekba, a Libyan macaroni that would be served with camel meat and cous cous.