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Adventures of an Italian Food Lover: With Recipes from 254 of My Very Best Friends Hardcover – July 10, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's one thing to enjoy a masterfully prepared Italian meal, but something else entirely to experience it in a small trattoria nestled in the canyons near Bologna, and author Willinger (Eating in Italy) knows the difference; conveying the sensory splendor of her 30 years living, shopping and eating in Italy, Willinger makes a warm personal guide to her favorite shops, markets and vineyards, and the often colorful characters who operate them (aided throughout by Suzanne Heller's clever watercolors). Willinger introduces grocers like Salvatore de Gennaro and Anna Maria Cuomo, who stock artisan cheeses and salumi homemade by Salvatore's dad; and winemakers like Silvia Imparato, owner of Montevetrano, "one of the most exciting wineries in southern Italy." Each entry is followed by a recipe: Tuscan bakers Francesco and Elisabeth Pandolfini offer Brutto-Buoni, a traditional cookie laden with almonds and pine nuts, while Dario Cecchini, Italy's most famous butcher (featured in Bill Buford's Heat), gives tips on choosing and preparing steaks. Other standouts include artisan grappa, Amedei chocolateir in Tuscany and custom perfumier Lorenzo Villoresi in Florence. Culinarians will delight in her stories and recipes, though the book functions better as a guidebook for travelers; included are web sites, hours of operation and contact information that make arranging a personal visit easy.
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Faith Willinger's knowledge about Italy is all encompassing and her passion for its food and culture is contagious. In Adventures of An Italian Food Lover, Faith eloquently describes the beautiful regional foods that continue to be made, as they have for generations, with local, organic ingredients. This is an important book. - Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Restaurant

Faith is usually the first with the scoop on anything new in the entire boot, and her love of Italians, Italian ingredients and Italian cooks are mellifluously evident in Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. She has a unique understanding of the regionally specific foods that make Italy the most delicious place on the planet, and this tome of magnificent recipes and tales from “foodies" in the true cook's Italy proves it’s not necessary to compromise authentic flavors to American tastes. Faith has an intuitive sense of the truly delicious, and as always, her inside knowledge is shared with joy and delightful prose. - Mario Batali

Faith Willinger’s great taste and her instinct for authenticity puts her in a class with Elizabeth David and Claudia Roden, and, just as important, she has the same easy, confident, approach to life in the kitchen. Adventures of an Italian Food Lover is a gift to my waiting pots and pans. - Jane Kramer, The New Yorker

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307346390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307346391
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
`Adventures of an Italian Food Lover' is by Faith Heller Willinger, a member in very good standing of that informal woman's society of writers on Italian cuisine, having done two previous excellent books on the subject. With this book, she joins fellow society members, Lydia Bastianich and Biba Gaginau in writing a very personal recipe cum travelogue cum memoir volume focusing on her personal experiences with food in Italy. All three of these ladies are superb writers on their subject, so one may expect comparable quality from all three, but that is not the case. At the very least, Ms. Willinger's volume will have a somewhat smaller audience for two reasons.
First, her memoir and travelogue content is much higher than with Madame Biba and Madame Lydia. This has a lot to offer for those who wish to do a culinary tour of Italy. I've personally experienced some culinary disasters even in Miss Faith's very own adopted home town of Florence, where I had a meal at a family run Trattoria which was simply horrible. Not every door to a culinary establishment in Italy will lead to pleasantly memorable food. Willinger spends much ink on describing her culinary friends from whom she acquired these recipes.
Second, unlike Biba and Lydia, Willinger's choice of recipes is highly idiosyncratic. The two other ladies both limit themselves to selected cities and regions in Italy, but within those regions, they tend to select a set of recipes which are highly representative of the regions. In the case of Bastianich, this is especially interesting since most of her regions are on the borders of Italy, where the cuisine is heavily influenced by Austria, France, and North Africa.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Adventures Of An Italian Food Lover: With Recipes From 254 Of My Very Best Friends" by chef, cooking teacher, and food detective Faith Heller Willinger is a veritable showcase of Italian cuisine shared within the context of Italian culture and sensory experiences. Featuring more than 110 superbly presented and authentic Italian dishes, the 'kitchen cook friendly' recipes range from Leek and Sausage Orzotto; Roast Veal Shank; and Pear Cake with Grappa Sauce; to Spaghetti with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Armando's Extra Virgin; Tuscan Brownies; and Pasta with Mussels and Zucchini Flowers. But what makes "Adventures Of An Italian Food Lover" stand out among other Italian cookbooks are the personal anecdotal stories about the mean and women from whom these simply wonderful recipes were obtained. As much fun to browse through as to cook from, "Adventures Of An Italian Food Lover" is confidently recommended for personal and community library ethnic cookbook collections.
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