Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Italian Cooking, the Overwhelmingly Authentic Way

For Christmas this year, one of my presents was a Gastronomique-size tome simply called, La Cucina, edited by the members of the Italian Academy of Cuisine and recently translated into English. This is the sort of massive cookbook that you know you'll never get the whole way through in your lifetime. It won't be for lack of trying, however, if you're like me and love trying foreign foods, the more "real", the better. There are thousands of recipes using almost every type of ingredient that could be dreamt of, from eel to chamois to wild thyme to grape must. This is the type of book that makes you feel inadequate as a cook from its sheer cornucopia of dishes. The book is organized into chapters by course: Antipasto, Soup, Pasta, Fish, Meat, Vegetables and Dessert (plus one chapter I've missed). It also includes the region from which each recipe originated, providing a little geographical and historical context for each meal--especially useful for Italian-Americans trying to get a "feel" for their roots. When I get over my initial feeling of awe and actually cook something from La Cucina, I'll be certain to post a review here. Until then, Buongiorno!

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