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Italian Cuisine

Salumi

This cookbook was reviewed by Carol a staff member of The Daring Kitchen. Carol also interviewed Chef Brian Polcyn. The interview can be found directly following the book review.

The food culture in America is undergoing a remarkable transformation. Consumers are demanding a better selection of fresh, pesticide free, organic, free-range, grass fed natural products. Farmers’ markets and community supported agricultural organizations (CSAs) have grown dramatically over the last decade as more Americans seek to engage with farmers for the foodstuffs to feed their families. The push may have started with restaurant chefs and local 100-Mile Clubs, groups that seek to prepare meals using ingredients sourced “locally” within 100 miles, but it is slowly moving into the mainstream. The growing online internet food blogger phenomena has contributed to this as has the recession, which sent home chefs returning to managing food budgets with cheaper cuts of meat and a return to comfort foods such as homey stews with local meats and vegetables.

It is against this backdrop, that Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn realized that American households were one generation away from losing their ability to preserve meat as their fathers did and as a result decided to collaborate and write about how to do exactly that – Charcuterie: The Salting, Smoking and Curing of Meat published in 2005 by W.W. Norton. I had an opportunity to interview Brian Polcyn, one of the co-authors. Polcyn told me that originally the book was turned down by five publishers as being too niche until it was finally accepted by Norton Publishers– the fair turnaround is that the book continues to be in print today with over 120,000 copies sold.

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken

This review was prepared by Elaine of The Italian Dish.
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When I was asked to review Laura Schenone's The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family, I was excited because I had seen the book before and I have quite an interest in making ravioli. What I didn’t realize, however, was that this was not really a cookbook – it is a memoir with recipes. So not only did I have a lot more reading ahead of me, I was much more engrossed in it than if I had been reading an ordinary cookbook.

Laura is a food writer living in Hoboken, New Jersey who longs for an authentic family recipe and becomes a little obsessed in her search for the origins of the family ravioli recipe. The ravioli was originally made by her Italian great grandmother, who immigrated to New Jersey from Italy. Her quest for this recipe leads her to long lost cousins and aunts across the country who finally send her the original ravioli recipe.

Cooking From Above - Italian

This review was prepared by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives.

This is not your Nonna’s Italian cookbook, or recipe box for that matter, but not for the reasons I initially thought. Upon receiving the book Cooking From Above - Italian by Laura Zavan (photographed by Pierre Javelle), my first thought was, “Wow, what a sleek, modern looking cookbook – cooking from above must mean a lot of unique, modern twists on classic Italian favorites!” Boy, was I wrong! "Cooking from Above" refers to the aerial photography in the book, and is actually part of a series of cookbooks by different authors, that range from Baking, to Classics, to Asian.

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