The notice of the lawsuit arrived two weeks after the cookbook came out. Jolie opened it, spotted the words “on behalf of our client, Gabriel Delange”, and felt the bottom drop out of her stomach.
Oh, God. Jolie spread the letter by the cookbook, centered proudly on her desk. Her father’s name, PIERRE MANON, stamped its big, glossy, silver cover, right above the most beautiful thing to ever come out of her his kitchens: the Rose. Back when she was a teenager, every TV crew that filmed her father filmed that rose, every magazine article about him showed it on its cover: out of all the beautiful dishes from his kitchens, the most sublime. Pink and red gently streaked great white chocolate petals, the outer ones spreading into bloom, the inner ones still curved, reluctant to break free from the bud, protecting for one last second the heart inside. That heart glowed under those petals, a sliver glimpse of pure gold. It was heartbreaking to eat it, and yet if you didn’t, it would die within minutes, the gold leaf collapsing as the Tahitian vanilla mousse it encased melted in the passionate heat of the raspberry coulis beneath it.
Only her words and the food photographers’ images could catch such a thing and give it permanence, like catching a firefly’s glow.
She remembered now her father’s hesitation when she had insisted on the Rose for the cover, how he had looked away and proposed other things and then at last smiled into her eager eyes and yielded.
Brought on behalf of his former chef pâtissier, Gabriel Delange. A man she primarily remembered from over a decade ago as being tall and far too skinny, yet somehow managing to fill a room with his energy, until he was all a teenager stuck in her father’s office could look at. She had had a tiny bit of a fourteen-year-old crush on him. Gabriel Delange, who now stated that the work featured on the cover of the book as well as twelve other recipes in its contents were his. And that since he had previously warned Pierre Manon against appropriation of his work, he preferred to settle this in court.