Italy Today: The Beautiful Cookbook

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9780002250535: Italy Today: The Beautiful Cookbook

First published in 1988, Italy the Beautiful Cookbook (200,000 copies sold) set the standard for exquisite presentation of Italy's authentic cuisine, combining recipes with scenic photography and details of each region. Now, nine years later, with worldwide interest in Italian food booming and a new Italian cuisine emerging, this new book has new power to satisfy the cook and traveler in us all.

With the accelerated pace of contemporary life, Italians have had to change their style of eating. This has created fresh ideas, quick approaches to the classics, rediscovered heritage dishes, and a more relaxed way of assembling menus. This new style is reflected in the more than 220 recipes culled from cooks throughout Italy. Emphasis is on light first courses and vegetable dishes; simply prepared fish, poultry and meats; and homemade breads, pizzas and desserts. Photographs of each region accompany these mouthwatering recipes. From the Alps to Sicily, from the fragrant herbs of Liguria to the pungent olives of Puglia, readers will delight in rediscovering the pleasures of this inspiring beloved country.

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Review:

Italy Today, the Beautiful Cookbook is the third volume on Italian cooking to join the popular Beautiful series of large format, lavishly illustrated books from HarperCollins. It is more than just a pretty book to set on the coffee table; this is a book cooks will enjoy and one that makes good reading if you are planning a trip to Italy.

Fred Plotkin's text covers the history, economy, and particular ingredients important in each of Italy's culinary regions. He also explains how changes in the way Italians live are affecting how they eat. Meals, for example, now follow the traditional structure less rigidly in most parts of the country, with the southern areas holding closest to the old ways. Also, while cooking in Italy is still remarkably regional, people are enjoying recipes less tied to their locality. Use of fresh and local ingredients, however, remains strong.

The recipes are by Lorenza De' Medici, who also did the food for Italy, the Beautiful Cookbook and Tuscany, the Beautiful Cookbook. Here she offers 220 dishes. Some show how Italians are modifying classics; others illustrate the living quality of Italian cooking in its acceptance of new ingredients and in new ways of using familiar ones. Perfect examples of this are Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint and Rice Salad with Pesto. Beyond all the handsome photographs, this is a source cooks really can use.

About the Author:

Lorenza de Medici has published more than 30 cookbooks. She has appeared in a 13-part series on Italian cooking for public television and conducts a cooking school at Badia a Coltibuono, an 11th-century estate and winery near the Chianti region of Tuscany. She divides her time between Milan and Badia a Coltibuono.

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Lorenza De'Medici; Fred Plotkin
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