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Celebrating Italy: Tastes & Traditions of Italy as Revealed Through Its Feasts, Festivals & Sumptuous Foods, The Paperback – April 11, 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (April 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060977221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060977221
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,836,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carol Field is one of Americas most successful and admired food writers. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Easter Lamb from Sicily

Makes 8 servings

If lamb is the quintessential Easter food, then this is the dish to celebrate the holiday with. The tastes of spring sing from the creamy lemon sauce enfolding the meat. When I ate this at Regaleali, a great Sicilian wine estate in the interior of the island, I wanted to fly into the kitchen immediately and learn its secrets. I restrained myself long enough to eat an extraordinary dinner and drink wonderful wines, and then Mario LoMenzo. the family cook, gave me the recipe and showed me how he had made the dish.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
4 pounds ( l 3/4 kilograms) boneless lamb stewing meat, cut in large
2 3/4 cups meat broth or enough to cover the lamb thoroughly
6 egg yolks
Juice of 4 lemons
1 pint heavy cream
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons potato starch for every 2 cups liquid
Salt and pepper

In a large casserole warm the oil and sauté the onion until it is translucent. Add the lamb pieces and cover with broth. Cook over medium-low heat until the lamb is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the lamb from the broth and keep it warm. Degrease the broth. (The recipe may be done ahead to this point; you may want to chill the broth and remove the fat when it has solidified. You can reheat the lamb in a 350º oven for 30 minutes. )

Warm the broth. Off the fire whisk in the egg yolks and lemon juice and mix well. Over a very low flame whisk in the cream bit by bit. Tum the fire up to medium and slowly stir in the potato starch, whisking it well to prevent lumps from forming. As the sauce thickens, add the lamb, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Genovese Christmas Sweet Bred from Genoa

Makes 2 loaves

Every city has its own Christmas bread: Milan has panettone; Verona, pandoro; and Genoa, pandolce, literally sweet bread. In its rustic form pandolce is a low, dense bread, thick with raisins, candied fruits, pistachios, and pine nuts, without any of the softness or light, airy quality of its Milanese or Veronese relatives. Perhaps that explains its current unfashionable status and makes sense of why there are two kinds of pandolce, the old-fashioned countrified round and a lighter, softer sweet bread more pleasing to contemporary tastes. When this pandolce arrives at the Christmas table surrounded by bay leaves, its low, round form is a reminder of its medieval origins, for it is scented with such Near Eastern flavors as orange flower water and fennel seeds. If you want to be really traditional, allow the youngest member of the family to cut the first slice, wrap it in a napkin, and offer it to the first poor person who passes. It is wonderful with a sweet white wine.


4 teaspoons active dry yeast or scant 1 2/3 cakes (30 grams) fresh yeast
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons warm water
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (355 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

Stir the yeast into the warm water and let stand until it is creamy, about10 minutes. Mix in the flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise untilwell doubled, about 40 minutes.

First Dough

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (150 grams) unsalted butter, very soft
3/4 cup ( 150 grams) sugar
W cup plus 2 tablespoons Marsala
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon orange flower water
1 teaspoon orange extract
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups (250 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

By Mixer. Put the sponge in the mixer bowl and with the paddle attachment mix in the soft butter in chunks until it is smooth and well mixed. Add the sugar, Marsala, milk, orange flower water, extract, fennel seeds, and salt; mix slowly until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Change to the dough hook, add the flour, and mix on the lowest speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. The dough will be soft and sticky.

Turn it out onto a well-floured board and knead briefly. Don't worry if it is too soft and sticky to form a ball.

First Rise. Set the dough in an oiled container, cover it well, and let rise until doubled, about 31/4 hours.


3 tablespoons (30 grams) pine nuts
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (40 grams) pistachios
1/2 cup (75 grams) raisins, soaked in tepid water for 1 hour, drained, and squeezed dry
2/3 cup (100 grams) candied orange peel, chopped

Shaping and Second Rise. Pour the delicate, very soft dough out onto a well-floured board. Flatten it into a long rectangular shape and, leaving a 1-inch border all around, sprinkle the top with the pine nuts, pistachios, raisins, and candied orange peel. Pat them in well. Fold in the borders all around and pat well again before rolling the dough up into a ball. Cut the dough in half and make a ball of each piece. Set the dough to rise on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled, about 11/2 hours.

Baking. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Just before baking, use a razor blade to cut the shape of a cross or a triangle in the center of each loaf. Set in the oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dan Hostetler on February 15, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book from Amazon.com because of its title alone but was so easily assimilated into Carol's amazing talent of recreating events with the written word that I found it difficult to put down. She put me right IN the festival! Because I live in Italy I have been able to visit a good number of the festivals that she describes in this book and have found her descriptions to be so accurate as to be scary. She seems to have found a way to penetrate the soul of these manifestations in a manner that not even many Italians can do.
I praise this not as a cookbook or a collection of recipes, but as a literary work that can be taken seriously as a 'training manual' on the spirit of Italian celebration. I recommend it to anyone who harbors a love of Italy and wants to know more about its inner being...
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lesley Roubicek Turman -- BellaOnline Italian Food on February 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Carol Field's Celebrating Italy is as much an Italian cultural reference book as it is a cookbook. I loved reading through all the different holidays celebrated in Italy complete with traditional recipes. Having lived in Italy for 8 years myself, Carol's stories made me long for a return trip.. Being the Italian Cooking Host @ Bella Online I found the recipes true to their cultural origins, but yet given with clear, easy to follow directions. If you are as fascinated with Italian cuisine as I am, you'll love this book!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is full of everything that makes being alive(not to mention being ITALIAN) so wonderful...! Traditions, recipes, slices from everyday ife that make you feel the "specialness" of every single day. Carol's research and her love shine through in CELEBRATING ITALY, so much so, be prepared to take a trip to one of the small towns she describes so mouth-wateringly delicious! Carol made me hungry for tradition, hungry to go back to things I always cherished in my heart. Can't wait for your next book, Carol! Con Amore, Terry Stellini
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