Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Amazon review

I thought I'd better review this damn book on Amazon seeing that I'm cooking my way through it. Here it is:

I like this book because a single, cranky, authentic and ultimately wise Italian voice steers you to a framework of Italian cooking around which you can structure your own kitchen for a lifetime of feeding yourself and your family. Marcella is stern and suggestive and completely confident in her own assertions based on a real Italian childhood and a lifetime of teaching the cooking that Italians traditionally employed in their own homes. It is not food for restaurants, or food that astounds or seeks to impress. It is food that reassures, and comforts and employs traditional folk knowledge gleaned over generations to simply transform healthy and natural ingredients into something that you and your family will like to eat, often.

It would take years to cook through this book, and I know this because I am attempting to do so in the Julie/Julia fashion. Recipes that have really taken me so far are the fricasseed chicken with red cabbage, spaghetti carbonara, minestrone soup, roast chicken with rosemary and garlic as well as things as simple as boiled cauliflower and potato salad. Recipes I still wish to try include smothered onion pasta and fricasseed chicken with rosemary, white wine and lemon. I also need to re-do my Drunken Pork dish (pork with red wine) after I fudged it by putting in way too much wine (amazingly Marcella herself gave me some tips via facebook at age 85!).

What I particularly like about the recipes in this book is their simplicity. As Marcella says, what is left out of a dish is as important as what is put in. My feeling is that many of the recipes in this book have been refined over her decades of teaching (on top of the traditional folk knowledge) to be the purest form of their expression. Any less and they would not work. Any more would be a distracting indulgence. Instead they result in simple flavours that work together rather than conflict and ultimately let the food best taste of itself.

1 comment:

  1. oh my goodness, Marcella Hazan is on Facebook? I can't find her on it.. help!