Monday, October 1, 2007

Essential Books on Italian Cooking and Cuisine

Well I know I just did a post on essential ingredients, but as I have been working on the Italian cuisine article on Wikipedia as well as my recent trip to Boston's Italian Northend, I thought I would share with all of you my essential books on Italian cuisine as-well-as cultural studies. I love making risotto, gnocchi, foccacia, braised broccoli rabe and polenta and who can pass up olive oil, truffles and the like. The cuisine for the most part is extremely healthy as well. So some of these books are cookbooks, while others are books on the history and culture of Italian cuisine. I hope you check them out and and if you have any favorites to share, please do so in your comments.

The Silver Spoon by Phaidon Press
$27 New, $23 Used on Amazon
This is an incredible book which was first published in Italy in 1950. The current English 2007 edition is an update of the version published in 1997. This is almost of encyclopedic book on Italian cooking. Some of the recipes can be daunting for the average cook, as like Le Guide Culinaire written by Esocoffier, this book makes a few assumptions on the readers skills, but honestly it is not something one couldn't sit down for a few moments and figure out. The book is inexpensive for its size which contains over 2,000 recipes broken up into various categories.

Regional Italian Cuisine by Reinhardt Hess and Sabine Salzer
$35 New, $19 Used from Amazon
This book is great, it breaks up different dishes into the regions of Italy. Pretty much each dish has a gourgeous picture to accompany it as well. There are many articles in the book on food stuffs such as Prosciutto Ham, in-depth descriptions of each of the regions represented as well as the wine from each region. The book contains about 200 recipes, but read with care as this is a book translated from German (go figure) so once in awhile there can be a "hrm?" in there.

Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian by the editors of Saveur Magazine
$10 Used from Amazon
I tell you I paid much more than $10 for this well written book. Broken into traditional Italian meal sections, this book has a great number of traditional Italian dishes. In addition there is quite a deal on Italian culture and numerous beautiful pictures. Even if you never cook out of it, it would make a great coffee table book for you. This book is making me hungry just looking at it right now.

Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home by Mario Batali
$23 New, $19 Used from Amazon
If you don't know who Mario Batali is, then you haven't watched the Food Network much the last decade. Host of the now no-longer-airing Molto Mario, Mario Eats Italy and Ciao America Batali has been a staple of the network for some time. He is also one of the esteemed Iron Chefs on Iron Chef America. This book contains all true, traditional dishes from Italy almost all of which I have cooked from this book and each is a treat. Again simple straight forward dishes that would make any Italian grandmother weep with joy.

Naples at Table : Cooking in Campania by Arthur Schwartz
$22 New, $13 Used on Amazon
An awesome book on the cuisine of Campania, so this book is very sepcific to one region of Italy. This happens to be one of the most popular cuisines of Italy and one we often see exported into authentic Italian restaurants in America (no sorry, Olive Garden is not authentic). When you think of pizza, this is where it came from, but this book will give you its history and proper recipes on how to make authentic Pizza Napoletana. Sorry no pictures in this one, it is just dedicated to the food in well written recipes that anyone could cook from along with great cultural information.

Soups of Italy: Cooking over 130 Soups the Italian Way by Norma Wasserman-Miller
$3.22 Used from on Amazon
I've had this book since early in my career as I used to come up with many a soup for the restaurants I used to work in when I needed some inspiration. I can't tell you that I ever made a bad recipe out of this book. If you love soup, this is the book to go for, can't beat the price now either as it is no longer in print and there are obviously too many copies floating around to make it expensive.

Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) by Alberto Capatti (Author), Massimo Montanari (Author), Aine O'Healy (Translator)
$33.25 New, $20 Used on Amazon
This book is a very well researched, noted and referenced book on Italian cuisine. It is an exploration of the cuisines foundations predating the Medieval Age with its move to regional cuisine and then to an all encompassing regional-national cuisine. Separate chapters are given to the invention of pasts, polenta, religious foodways during Christian holidays, the importance of eggs, meat, milk products and so much more. If you really want to know where Italian cuisine originated, this is one of those books you should explore. This is one of my absolute favorite books.

The Food of Italy by Waverly Root
$15 New, $6.32 Used on Amazon
This is a pretty good look at the regional foods of Italy. Written as almost an in-depth tour through Italy from region to region, first giving the regions history and then going through the cuisines foundation and evolution to modern times. There is no encompassing national cuisine addressed, it is written solely by region to region, which expresses the countries regionality with its cuisine. Works well as a reference book on regional cuisine.

No comments:

Free Blog CounterHandelshaus ...