Best Italian Cook/Reference book

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Joined Jul 31, 2000
What would you recomend for me?

I am very interested to learn and read more on Italian culinary history but don't really know where to begin as there are so many books out there.
TIA for any help
cc
 
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Joined May 26, 2001
Elizabeth David's Italian Food. She's one of my favorite food writers, and this book is typical of her thorough approach.
 
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Joined Jul 3, 2002
It's seems odd that there aren't more books out there. I've been checking back to this thread myself just to see what others would come up with.
I did some searching and most of what seems to be out there are cookbooks that give the occasional historical tidbit. There is a book by Piero Camporesi called (in translation) The Magic Harvest: Food, Folklore and Society. It's an academic book--endnotes, appendices, etc.--and not just a little odd. The information is interesting, but (after a brief skim, admittedly) I can't quite figure out his overall structure. :confused: The chapters seem like independent essays that cover quite a bit of ground. So I wouldn't go to it for a clear, comprehensive history. Dipping here and there might be more rewarding. :cool:

But I'm still eager to see what else others find. And I'm going straight out to find that Elizabeth David book! :)
 
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Suzanne,

Thanks for the lead. and Phoebe thank you so much for taking the time to research a bit on my behalf.

I was hoping to hear back from Pongi whom lives in Genoa.
In the mean time I ask a freind to pick me up a few books at the library.
I'm reading

The history of food by Samat (amazing)

A taste of India by Jaffrey (incredible and very good histor


Hot sour salty sweet by Alford and Duguid (A culinary journey through southeast Asia)

So i'm going to work my way through these books at this time.

Thanks again for your help
cc
 
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Im also inerested in this.

I think Im going to write Marcella Hazen and ask her.
Will post when I have a response.

Let me know if you find something in the meantime.
 
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CC
Giuliano Bugialli sp? Is a little commercialized, but I've always felt he has a pretty good understanding of the treasure of simplicity, which I feel is the key to Italian cooking. The freshest ingredients and an equidable way to prepare it. Keeping in mind that he is an author.
 
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A little off-topic, since they haven't any books on Italy, but I absolutely adore their books! Perfect for armchair tourists, and great to cok from, too. Their advice on cooking plain rice (jasmine and basmati) is 100% on the mark; I never knew how much better it could taste!

Definitely a pair for Canadians to be proud of!
 
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I agree Suzanne,

I can't put this book down,i'm looking forward to trying a few recipes down the line. The com chien (perfumed rice) sounds amazing
 
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CC,
sorry for having not answered to your question before, but I'm very busy these days and had missed this thread and your PM...
Apart from this, my problem is that the books about Italian cooking intended for Italians seem to be totally different from those intended for foreigners (in example, I've never heard about anyone of the books you mentioned except for Elizabeth David's) and can't say which books I know have been translated in English and are available abroad.
So, I need some more time to get enough info to post something useful for you...hope to be back here soon!

Pongi
 
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Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi.

Now available in paperback, this classic 19th-century book of Italian cuisine is a must!
 
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cape chef,

Consider books such as Elizabeth DavidÕs ÒItalian Food,Ó a comprehensive guide to the foods of various regions, including Tuscany, Sicily, Lombardy, and Umbria. Other good choices include Lidia BastianichÕs ÒLa Cucina di Lidia: Distinctive Regional Cuisine from the North of Italy,Ó which offers both authentic recipes and a history of LidiaÕs family and background; and ÒBibaÕs Taste of Italy,Ó which emphasizes the northern Italian cuisine on which chef Biba Caggiano was raised. Marcella HazanÕs ÒEssentials of Classic Italian CookingÓ and ÒMarcellaÕs Italian KitchenÓ both offer recipes for simple foods prepared with authentic techniques, while ÒGiuliano BugialliÕs Foods of ItalyÓ provides a survey of more than 125 classic recipes. Finally, ÒThe Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink,Ó a comprehensive tome by John Mariani, offers more than 2,300 definitions of terms, ingredients, and techniques, as well as 50 traditional Italian recipes.
Ê
Ê
RECOMMENDED READING

Marcella Hazan
ÒEssentials of Classic Italian CookingÓ (Alfred Knopf, 1992; $30)

ÒMarcellaÕs Italian KitchenÓ (Alfred Knopf, 1986, $23)

Giuliano Bugialli
ÒGiuliano BugialliÕs Foods of ItalyÓ (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1994; $30)

Lidia Bastianich and Jay Jacobs
ÒLa Cucina di Lidia: Distinctive Regional Cuisine from the North of ItalyÓ (Doubleday, 1990; $36.50)

Biba Caggiano
ÒBibaÕs Taste of Italy: Recipes from the Homes, Trattorie, and Restaurants of Emilia-RomagnaÓ (William Morrow, 2001; $38)

Elizabeth David
ÒItalian FoodÓ (Viking Penguin, 1999; $13.95)

John Mariani
ÒThe Dictionary of Italian Food and DrinkÓ (Broadway, 1998; $17)
 
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...OMG...I'm going crazy:crazy:
After having searched the web til now for the English translations of my favourite books, I throw in the sponge and give you my recommendations in Italian :(
In any case, all those books can be easily found with an Internet search and, as far as I know, are available on many Online shops. Since all of you are clever surfers (more than me!), if a translation exists, no doubt you'll find it... otherwise I give you the opportunity to become more Italian in spirit, practicing the language;)

The very first two I mention have been written by Massimo Alberini, maybe the greatest Italian authority on our food history! He wrote tons of books, those two give the widest range of info:

1)Massimo Alberini, STORIA DELLA CUCINA ITALIANA, Ed. PiEmme, 1992

2)Massimo Alberini, STORIA DEL PRANZO ALL'ITALIANA, DAL TRICLINIO ALLO SNACK (History of the Italian meal, from the tryclinium to the snacks), Ed. Rizzoli, 1966

These are other two very good books:

1)Alberto Capatti e Massimo Montanari, LA CUCINA ITALIANA-STORIA DI UNA CULTURA, Ed. Laterza, 1999

2)Claudio Benporat, STORIA DELLA GASTRONOMIA ITALIANA, Ed. Mursia, 1990

Finally, I remind you of this wonderful book about the regional Italian recipes I have already mentioned-not strictly a historic book, but so precious and informative that you can't miss it if you love the traditional Italian cooking! Unfortunately, I do know that there is no English translation, so you MUST practice Italian here...

1) Anna Gosetti della Salda, LE RICETTE REGIONALI ITALIANE, Ed Solares, 1967

And now...have a lucky search!

Pongi
 
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You guys are all fantastic!!!

I have my work cut out for me:)

Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions
cc
 
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Joined Jul 3, 2002
Hi CC,

I stumbled on these in the www.foodbooks.com website and remembered this thread. I cut and pasted from the site. See if these look at all interesting:

Empire of Pleasures: Luxury and Indulgence in the Roman World. By Andrew Dalby. A geography of luxury runs through the literature of Imperial Rome -- Persica the golden peaches whose Latin name pinpointed Persia as the source of their world-wide migration -- Caecubum, a fine, rare, dry red wine from Campanian vineyards that were once prized, afterwards neglected; these flavors weere identified, evaluated and tasted in a single word. Empire of Pleasures presents an evocative survey of the sensory culture of the roman Empire, showing how the Romans themselves depicted and visualized their food, wine and entertainments in literature and in art. With numerous illustrations, and recipes to conjure up the luxurious flavors and aromas of Roman literature, Empires of Pleasures will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in classical literature and culture. Routledge, London & NY. 2000. 304 pp. 37 plates and figures, 10 maps. Hardcover. Stock # RB003 $35.00

Galen on Food and Diet. By Mark Grant. At the apogee of ancient medical advances stood Galen (AD 129 - C. AD 210), once the personal physicial to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. A prolific writer, among his surviving works is what he believed to be the definitive guide to a healthy diet, based on the theory of the four humours. In these treatises Galen sets out this theory, which was to be profoundly influential on medicine for many centuries, and describes in fascination detail the effects on health of a vast range of foods, from lettuce, lard and fish to peaches, pickles and hyacinths. This books provides many captivating insights into the ancient understanding of food and health. Routledge. London & NY. [emoji]169[/emoji] 2000. 214 pp. Paper. Stock # RB005 $25.99

The Neapolitan Recipe Collection: Cuoco Napoletano Feasting as a window into medieval Italian culture By Terence Scully . Outstanding among these early cookbooks is the one written by an anonymous master cook in Naples toward the end of the 15th century. In its 220 recipes, we can trace not only the Italian culinary practice of the day but also the very refined taste brought by the Catalan royal family when they ruled Naples. This edition--with its introduction touching on the nature of cookery in the Neapolitano Collection, and its commentary on the individual recipes and its English translation of those recipes--will give the reader a glimpse into the rich fare available to occupants and guests of one of the greatest houses of late medieval Italy. Published by the University of Michigan Press.7 x 10, 264 pp. [emoji]169[/emoji] 2000 Cloth $47.50

Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome. Edited and Translated by Joseph Dommers Vehling. This is the first English translation of Apicius de re Coquinaria, the oldest known cookbook in existence. It is also one of the few translations of this original roman cookbook prepared by a profesional chef. This book will appeal to gourmets, professional and amateur chefs, cultural historians, and others who want to see, first hand, the foods on which Imperial Rome dined. This in the unabridged republication of the original 1936 edition. 301 pages. Paper. 49 illus. This is the 1977 Dover Edition. Stock # DP004. $9.95

The Classical Cookbook. Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger. This book is the first of its kind to explore the daily culture of the Mediterranean through the center of its social life–food and drink. Each chapter provides a historical outline, with translations of the original recipes followed by versions for the moden cook. The J. Paul Getty Museum. 144 pages. 27 color & 23 B/W illus., 23 line drawings. $24.95.

Festa: Recipes & Recollections of Italian Holidays. Helen Barolini. The University of Wisconsin Press. 2002. Paper. ISBN: 0-299-17984-2. 366 pages. Festa is a year-long feast of memories and delicious, traditional Italian dishes--from St. Nicholas sweetmeats in December and perciatelli with sardine and fennel sauce for March's St. Joseph's Day, to figs with prosciutto for summer's Ferragosto and pumpkin gnocchi for an American Thanksgiving in Italy. Stock # 000612. $ 24.95

Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. Pellegrino Artusi. Translated by Murtha Baca and Stephen Sartarelli. Introduction by Lorenza de' Medici. First published in 1891 and has since become a touchstone for gourmets the world over, setting the standard for Italian cuisine as well as for the literature of food. "Of the several English editions of Pellegrino Artusi's truly great encyclopedic compendium of the Italian kitchen, this is surely the best..." Fred Ferretti. Marsilio Publishers. 631 pages. Paper. 1997. $19.95

A Taste of Ancient Rome. By Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa. Translated by Anna Herklotz. foreword by Mary Taylor Simeti. From appetizers to desserts, from the rustic to the refined, here are more than 200 recipes from ancient Rome tested and updated for today's tastes. University of Chicago Press. 16 color plates. 232 pp. [emoji]169[/emoji]1994. $18.00 Paper

The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy . By Odile Redon, Francoise Sabban and Silvano Serventi. Translated by Edward Schneider. Original line drawings by Patricia Glee Smith. More than a mere cookbook, The Medieval Kitchen vividly depicts the context and tradition of authentic medieval cookery. Culture and cuisine become thoroughly entwined, informing and transforming one another. Etiquette at table and the aesthetics of the meal, the seasonal variations evidenced in feast days and fast days, the foods of the city and the country as well, the diets of the rich and the poor, and the ingenious methods and techniques employed in medieval culinary arts–all this is brought to scholarly light. 336 pages. 12 color plates, numerous line drawings. Cloth. $32.50, Paper $18.00
 
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There is no better book on this very subject than The Food of Italy by Waverly Root. It explains the geography, people, and food of each region and how the food in those regions came to be. He also wrote an excellent french version, The Food of France.
 
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I'd like to add Clifford Wright's 'A Mediterranean Feast.' It's obviously not about just Italian cooking, but I consider that a plus as it gives both an historical and geographical context.

The richness of Italian cuisine has been enhanced by the influence of other cuisines such as the Moors, the French, the Austrians battled for control of the various bits of what has been a single nation only since the late 19th century, so knowing more about those cuisines also gives perspective on Italian food.
 
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