I love cookbooks. I rarely follow recipes. It’s a contradiction I’m working on resolving but it’s been this way as long as I remember.
We have had the recent privilege of being spoiled on Italian cuisine several times through a friend (who is also a client of Dana’s in the spirit of full disclosure) and my eyes have been opened to an entire cuisine that I thought I knew. I certainly didn’t qualify as an expert but have surrounded myself with a lot of Italian inspired food in my lifetime (including a 25 day tour of parts of the country) and I can freely admit my ignorance – I had no idea just how diverse different regions were.
These dinners arose a curiosity with me and when I stumbled on a cookbook called “La Cucina” I knew I had to take a look. It tookmere seconds to realize I would leave the store with it under my arm.
The cookbook contains 2,000 recipes and no pictures (something I consider a feature in this case). it’s well-organized and covers the food of Italy by identifying the roots of each recipe. Local traditions are woven into the book and it feels like reading history as much as it feels like reading a cookbook. And there is good reason for this – the book has roots which stretch almost 60 years to a group of people in Milan who decided to preserve the culinary heritage of Italia. The Italian Academy of Cuisine was born and they maintain this tome today.
The book is designed fabulously. Red writing tells you that there is a note about the food other than how to cook it and the recipes are straightforward and well explained.
Food with such tradition is exciting to me – preserving of a different kind but preserving nonetheless. Preserving culture, tradition and recipes passed down through the ages.
The only drawback? It’s $54 Canadian for the 900+ page encyclopedia. You can find copies as low as $30 USD on Amazon (I can save you the search here).
I am most excited to pick something and actually follow a recipe – the problem now is the amount of options at my fingertips!