Local Author Becky Libourel Diamond “The Thousand Dollar Dinner”

Local Author Becky Libourel Diamond “The Thousand Dollar Dinner”

Local Author Becky Libourel Diamond “The Thousand Dollar Dinner”

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Yardley, Pa. (November 6, 2015) – Local author Becky Libourel Diamond will kick off her fall book tour on Nov. 14th at the Ebeneezer Maxwell Museum in Philadelphia, followed by a book signing Nov. 21st at B&N in Fairless Hills.



Diamond will discuss and sign her new book, The Thousand Dollar Dinner, the tale of an unusual 19th century duel between the two cities considered at the time to be the culinary capitals of the United States – Philadelphia and New York.
 The story begins in 1851, when two rival groups of food lovers challenged each other to a culinary duel. The New York and Philadelphia “clubs of good livers” each hosted the other in their home city to judge which could deliver the most outstanding feast. The first banquet was held at Delmonico’s famous New York City restaurant, but Ms. Diamond’s book focuses on the extravagant feast held in Philadelphia and prepared by Chef James Parkinson.

The 12-hour, 17-course feast was dubbed by Philadelphia newspapers as the “Thousand Dollar Dinner” because it reputedly cost the Philadelphians $1,000 (approximately $32,000 in today’s dollars) to prepare.

Chef Parkinson chose items sure to dazzle and delight his guests, including fresh oysters, a variety of turtle preparations, decorative cold dishes set in gelatin, and intricate sculptures made out of patisserie called pièces montées. Parkinson had a creative, innovative way with food, such as the invention of pistachio ice cream, Champagne frappe à la glacé (a semi-frozen froth made with the sparkling wine), and a luxurious, rejuvenating sorbet created specifically for the Thousand Dollar Dinner using an extremely rare and expensive Hungarian Tokaji wine.
Ms. Diamond’s book describes each course in exquisite detail, while providing the historical context for the menu items.
Which city was declared the culinary master? Ms. Diamond reveals the winner in her book, and she’ll discuss the outcome and how the dazzling feast revolutionized dining in America during her appearances and book signings.


The Thousand Dollar Dinner is available for purchase at from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Westholme or IndieBound.

Tour Dates

Nov. 14:     The Ebeneezer Maxwell Museum, Philadelphia, Pa., 2 p.m
Nov. 21:     Barnes & Noble, Fairless Hills, Pa., 1 p.m.- 3 p.m.
Nov. 28:     Barnes & Noble, Philadelphia, Pa. – 1 p.m. - 3  p.m.
Dec. 5:         Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, PA – 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 19:     Barnes & Noble, Cherry Hill, N.J. – 1 p.m. - 3  p.m.

About Becky Libourel Diamond

With a background in journalism and library studies, Becky Libourel Diamond has had a varied career combining writing and research. Ms. Diamond's second book, The Thousand Dollar Dinner, tells the unique story of a 19th century culinary challenge between Philadelphia restauranteur James Parkinson and the Delmonico family of New York. The result was a luxurious 17-course feast that helped launch fine restaurant dining in America as we know it today. Each chapter in the book covers the wide variety of interesting foods and wines that were served. She is also the author of Mrs. Goodfellow: The Story of America's First Cooking School.

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