About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Title: The Vinegar of Spilamberto and Other ...
Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard
Publication Date: 2006
Book Condition: New
Dust Jacket Condition: New
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 1st Edition...
About this title
In 1958, Doris Muscatine’s husband, a medieval scholar, got a Fulbright for a year of research in Italy. They lived in Rome and almost immediately became hopeless Italophiles. The Vinegar of Spilamberto is the enchanting story of their experiences. The couple returned often, staying in various apartments a house in Venice, a medieval tower in Tuscany, and a villa on the Appia Antica with its own catacombs.
From such small places as Populonia and Rovescala to bigger ones like Riace and Dozza, the family immersed themselves in the Italy off the typical tourist tracks. Muscatine describes the extreme cultural differences everywhere, but most notable in Sicily, and delights in various foods including Il Ranocchio, dall’antipasto al dolce (The Frog, from antipasto to dessert) and the wines that went with them. Chapters are devoted to the Italian appreciation of slow food and of special products such as truffles and balsamic vinegar.
First introduced to the delights of the Italy during her husband's year of Fulbright scholarship in Rome, Muscatine chronicles life as a young mother and self-professed "foodie" in the golden post-war years of the Eternal City. Not intending her book to be read on an empty stomach, the author ably describes the culinary delights she encountered in her travels, including one memorable meal of "bucatini all'amatriciana, 'macaroni' with a sauce of smoky Italian-style bacon, tomatoes, and cheese; and gnocchi di patate, little potato dumplings bubbling with butter and grated pecorino." Exploring bucolic Tuscan venues, celebrity-sprigged locales like Positano and Capri, the lesser-traveled concorsi of Sardinia and the fishy delights of Venice, the couples' travails are predictably and relentlessly delightful. Describing the eponymous vinegar, Muscatine explains that it begins "with the must of gently pressed grapes and skins, most usually made from overripe white Trebbiano grapes...boiled slowly until it becomes concentrated into saba, which ... lends the finished vinegar its sweetness." Muscatine's insatiable curiosity about the Italian culinary practices she witnesses first-hand are infectious, and it's easy to see why the enthusiastic couple forged lifelong friendships during their travels. With each turn of the page, Muscatine establishes herself as a gracious guide through her colorfully written, gilt-edged memories.
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