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Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany to Sicily Hardcover – September 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Welcome Books (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599620898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599620893
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Grandmotherly cooking summons up images that virtually define comfort food. Grandmothers across Italy invited Theroux into their kitchens, allowing her to record a smart selection of unique and utterly appealing dishes that will leave readers of all ethnicities yearning for an Italian grandmother in the family lineage. Without traveling to Italy, cooks can turn to recipes for some extraordinary dishes such as Milanese involtini, thinly sliced steak nestling a stuffing of pork, chicken, beef, and cheese slowly braised in the simplest of tomato sauces. To accompany this, nothing could surpass the elegance of a layered creation of mashed potatoes, prosciutto, and cheeses bound together with eggs. Desserts range from cornmeal cookies through a showstopping hazelnut pastry. Instructions are clear, but experienced cooks may realize that some recipes can be simplified by using a food processor. Those obsessed with authenticity will relish Theroux’s detailed instructions for brewing one’s own walnut liqueur, a two-year endeavor. --Mark Knoblauch

Review

WINNER 2011 IACP Judges Choice Cookbook Award (International Association of Culinary Professionals)
WINNER 2011 IPPY Gold Award (Independent Publisher Book Awards)
Best Italian Cookbook of 2010 - Publisher's Weekly

"I just watched her (Jessica's) documentary and loved it -- such a beautiful evocation of what it means to take good things from the land in the purest way and prepare them and cook them  in the most natural and healthy way.  The woman who took us through the process was wonderful, and it was great to have the closeups of her and of all the little steps she took, from harvesting to cleaning, to making a fire, to cooking.  Watching all that can only make people think seriously about how they're eating, how they're living, and how attractive is the old-fashioned, simple way of life.  Made you think also of the importance of saving the small farms which have been threatened with extinction, and of how we can do that even in this post-modern world." -- Howard Zinn

In the kitchen with these wise women, Jessica observes much more than how to make the perfect osso buco and torta di mele. She sees what makes Italians Italian, and conveys the beauty and idiosyncracies of this culture with such insight that it carries us right to the heart of Italy. Cooking with Italian Grandmothers is an essential read for anyone hoping to understand the role of food in nurturing, or simply wanting to cook up some delicious traditional Italian home food.
--Sarah Weiner, Executive Director, Seedling Projects

"The Best Italian Cookbook of 2010"
-- Publishers Weekly, The Best Cookbooks of 2010

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers reads like a diary, a treasured recipe collection, and a photo album, all at once...Add Cooking with Italian Grandmothers to your collection and you, too, will taste your way through Italy with Jessica Theroux.
-- Andrea Mitchell, Foodista.com 

Buy this book if you or someone you love is interested in Italy, traditions, cooking, travel, discovery. Buy this book if you can picture yourself reading it propped up in bed at night and bringing into the kitchen the next day to take the lasagna recipes for a spin. Buy this book if you feel our elders have something important to offer us, or if you believe that there's something worth preserving in the oldways.
-- Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn

“This made me think of my Great Aunt Marge, a giant among Italian home cooks. She left behind a trove of recipes, but more than that, kitchen memories my family still savors – just like the women in this tome.”
–-Lynn Andriani, Senior Editor, Publishers Weekly

"Theroux spent a year in Italy, collecting recipes and stories from a dozen grandmothers...Usha in Le Marche shares her plum almond tart recipe, and Maria in Sicily schools Theroux on homemade ricotta. Needless to say, this book is a must for any Nonna-less Italophile."
-- 7x7 Magazine

"Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany to Sicily comes from an American chef who spent a year traveling throughout Italy cooking and talking with Italian grandmothers, learning their secrets and stories.  The result is a fine blend of history and recipes of twelve selected grandmothers who welcomed Theroux in theis kitchens and shared their favorite dishes.  From Roasted Leeks with Eggs and Olives to Brocolli and Pine Nut Pasta, this is packed with flavor and insights."
-- California Bookwatch

"This book is a joy to read, and awakens the appetite with its clear and simple recipes. I'm delighted that the author is a graduate of our Chef's Training Program at the NGI - she deserves all the success coming her way."
-- Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO, The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, NYC

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers begins the important work of documenting the simple traditions that have been passed down verbally through generations...an exquisite, heartfelt anthology that is an important reference for us all”.
-- Alice Waters, from the introduction

"In preparation for my second ever trip to Italy, I was eager to absorb the stories and picturesque details of Cooking with Italian Grandmothers. The chapter about Bruna brought me back to thoughts of driving through the country side, the welcoming people, and the amazing yet simple foods. More reading found me inspired to try Bruna's Coniglio in Bianco (white wine-braised rabbit). As much as I love a good rabbit dish, I had yet to cook one myself until now. Totally lovely and easy to prepare, this rabbit dish worked beautifully with Maria's Cauliflower in Ricotta al Forno. I can not wait to try our more dishes and read the full stories of each grandmother. A true experience - I wish I had been there. I LOVE THIS BOOK."
-- Dava Guthmiller, CEO & Creative Director of Noise 13 Design, Leader of Slow Food San Francisco

"Jessica's elegantly crafted personal portraits present these recipes as artifacts of individual lives lived in rhythm with landscape, season and in harmony with tradition. The whole of this work transcends the expected."
-- Amaryll Schwertner, Chef/Owner of Boulettes Larder, San Francisco

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book is a set of stories, recipes, and photography from the journey.
Edward West
The only trouble with this book is that I can't decide whether to keep it in my kitchen, or on my coffee table!
J Stokes
Beautiful stories written, and beautiful pictures of italy are awaiting you in this book.
barbara

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Edward West on September 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chef, author, artist, and healer Jessica Theroux traveled all throughout Italy, apprenticing to wise grandmother cooks during her year-and-a-half adventure. This book is a set of stories, recipes, and photography from the journey.

The recipes are absolutely fantastic, the photography is luscious, and the documentation of vanishing traditional Italian food culture is important. But what really makes the book stand out is the quality of the writing.

The language is evocative, and the tales of the women embody such beautiful wisdom. The prose is poetic and rich; the writer has a gift for telling the tales of these extraordinary women. And Jessica's journey was not just physical; you can feel the author grow wiser throughout the progression of the book. The challenges of the trip, the exposure to the wise grandmothers, and the wild and unexpected experience of life itself serve to impart this wisdom to Jessica page by page.

The Jessica who set out on this journey is different than the Jessica who returned.

I don't normally associate cookbooks as something that you can just sit down and read, but this book is a joy to curl up with, like a warm wool blanket by the fire. I will be buying them for family and friends as Christmas presents, and just-for-the-heck-of-it presents. A sense of love and warmth permeates the book, and it will truly touch the reader.

Every once in a while a truly special book comes along- this is one of them.

Five stars.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By J Stokes on November 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
With the delicious recipes and stunning photographs to go along with the stories of Jessica's relationships with these wise Italian women, this amazing book should take the place of "Eat Pray Love," particularly for foodies who now can make the revelatory meals in their own kitchens. The veal osso bucco and saffron risotto recipes from this book resulted in, by far, the most delicious meal I've ever made. It's hard to choose what to make next, and the stories about how Jessica came to these recipes make the meals even more meaningful when enjoyed. The only trouble with this book is that I can't decide whether to keep it in my kitchen, or on my coffee table!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Rebekah Wheeler on October 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My mom and I just spent a lovely day together cooking five of the recipes from this amazing book! We were able to make all of them despite our somewhat limited chef skills...and each dish was just FANTASTIC!!! We both thought it was one of the best meals we've ever had. The Apple Cake was phenomenal! The fennel salad was a simple wonder! And the best part is feeling that connection with our heritage and with each other...everyone should give a copy to their mom!!!
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Merri Ann Gonzalez on January 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an enchanting rendition of this womans trip to Italy, and the stories about the trip are wonderful. The explanations of the homes and atmospheres are great. My problem is the involved recipes. There seems to be a lot of ingredients and many steps to each of them. Having an Italian background dispite my last name, I do remember it taking days to make Ravioli for the whole family which was a very long table chock full of relatives. I remember the little ravioli being spread all over clean white sheets on the beds and couches and chairs and tabels of the front porch. Still worth the money just for the stories, history, beautiful photos of the areas and the dishes themselves.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Melissa H. Divaris on October 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely beautiful! Between the illustrations, the photography, the words, and the recipes, it's truly a piece of art! Jessica's journey connected me back to my journey in and out of the kitchen..travel, food, grandmothers,,,, After reading her book, It felt as if my own grandmother was present. A true hommage to older generations...bringing back what's good, soulful, and much needed in today's busy world. It's a reminder to slow down and tap back in to our roots...to remember our past generations who were serving up soulful advice and food! I can't wait to give this book as gifts for the holidays and birthdays...especially for women..it is a beautiful work of art with amazing and easy recipes from Italy. What more could you ask for?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Foodgeek on December 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Beautifully written. The recipes are authentic and superb. The photography is gorgeous. Before I run out of adjectives, just want to say this is one of the finest cookbooks I have ever seen. This is real food for real people. No ridiculous combination of trendy ingredients. What a joy to read and use over and over again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MnM on February 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I LOVE this book! I read it straight through in two days and could not put it down. I have used some of the recipes at home, and some at my cafe, and it is delicious. The stories, though, are the best part. I love Italy and go every year to learn more about the culture, food and wine, and Jessica lived my fantasy! I am jealous, and she wrote about it beautifully, I felt like I was there watching her... she included me in her adventure with this book and that is work it's weight in gold. I love this book!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ric M. Cascio on September 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this book for its lovely and interesting stories of the various grandmothers. It made me want to return to Italy. However, I found the recipes curiously lacking -- so many of them were so much more complicated than they need be. I learned to cook in Italy from 2 aunts -- one in the South, the other in Tuscany. There were far too many ingredients in the book than were actually needed to produce a successful product.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the read.
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