Sunday, May 11, 2008
Good Books on Italian Food
My previous post may seem very negative. To offset that impression, here are images of some Italian food and cooking books that I really like -- besides the PBS show "Lidia's Italy."
I've especially enjoyed the books of Mary Taylor Simieti on Sicily. She writes wonderful details of life there from the mid-60s until recently.
The depicted book on Italian-Jewish cooking by Edda Servi Machlin includes a sketch of "a vanished way of life" in her town of Pitigliano. Her story of life there is especially enjoyable. I regret that I have never yet purchased a copy, but I always intend to get one.
My plan is to reread more of these, and maybe some new ones. I've just finished with Elizabeth David's Italian Food. I love the way she intersperses anecdotes and recipes. She is just as informative as Pellegrini -- whose book I find so annoying that I ranted about it this morning. She often compares early-1950s English food to that of Italy, and though it's not a favorable comparison, she is never nasty and snide the way he is about American food and people. Sure, she thinks the English would enjoy life more if they ate more adventurously, but she tries to show them what's possible. And indeed, she succeeded in changing the English diet, as much as anyone could. (Another book I hope to read is a recent biography of Davis by Artemis Cooper.)
Check here from time to time for more book reports!