Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Italian Reading List, Part IV - Cookbooks

I am wrapping up my series of Italy-related reading with cookbooks.  I admit that while I have quite a few of them, I also rely much more heavily on the scrawled and stained scraps of paper that have sketchy recipes written on them, given to me by Giorgio or other friends, or devised while dining in Italy.  I also bought a few regional cookbooks in Italian which are wonderful, even if they are a little vague.  "Add water...however much is enough" is a typical instruction.

These are the books that I rely on most heavily when researching ingredients or looking for something new to try.  Everyone has their favorites, their go-to cookbooks, and these are mine.  Some are sadly out of print, but available through online markets like Biblio or Bookfinder.

Cucina del Sole: A Celebration of Southern Italian Cooking by Nancy Harmons Jenkins
This is a lovely book covering southern Italy, an area near and dear to me.  It is adapted to American ingredients and cooking style while maintaining the region's authenticity. Jenkins debunks the notion that southern Italian cooking is all red sauce and meatballs.

In Nonna’s Kitchen: Recipes and Traditions by Italy's Grandmothers by Carol Field (out of print)
Wonderful authentic recipes from Italian grandmothers, and interesting stories about them to make it a good read as well as a good resource.

Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi.
You already know that I’m devoted to Artusi. Buy; read; cook. Seriously.

The Talisman Cookbook by Ada Boni
Il Talismano is very popular in Italy, the basic go-to cookbook for ordinary days. It collects well known regional recipes together. Translated from Italian; currently out of print in the English version.

Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites by Giada deLaurentiis
I know, not all her recipes are 100% authentic, but I find Giada very likeable anyway. This latest cookbook has some enticing new flavor combinations as well as stand-bys that never get old.

Food and Memories of Abruzzo: Italy's Pastoral Land by Anna Teresa Callen
A wonderful collection of simple and hearty recipes of Abruzzo, it highlights provincial dishes from all over the region. Interspersed are stories of the author’s childhood in Abruzzo.

The Silver Spoon (Il Cucciaio d’Argento)
Translated from Italian, this behemoth is a whopping 1264 pages featuring more than 2000 recipes. It runs the gamut of all the courses and food groups with some fusion recipes thrown into the mix.

Now there's no excuse...get cooking!


LindyLouMac said...

I find the Silver Spoon of great value. It was the only book that had a recipe suitable for using for our surplus Kiwi's that were already too soft to store over the winter! Kiwi jam, delicious.

TED said...
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Melanie said...


Love your site and especially love your Reading List series. Did you know there's also a new Silver Spoon cookbook for kids? Check out The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes. I got it as a Christmas gift for my nieces.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I must get the Silver Spoon Cookbook.

I always say I'm not buying anymore cookbooks but I can't help it.

Big fan of Giada's books as well. Every recipe I've made has been a hit.

Valerie said...

LindyLou - Kiwi jam sounds yummy! We passed the miles and miles of kiwi farms in Lazio; I hadn't known that Italy was a major producer of kiwi!

Melanie - Thanks. I didn't know there was a Silver Spoon for kids. Very cool!

Ragazza - It's a valuable resource, though I end up using Ada Boni a lot more on a normal basis. I love the regional cookbooks you can buy in Italy even though measurements and instructions are often sketchy.