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Cucina Di Calabria: Treasured Recipes and Family Traditions from Southern Italy (Cookbooks) Paperback – March 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For centuries, one of Italy's best-kept culinary secrets has been the cooking of Calabria, that region occupying the toe of the Italian boot. But in Cucina di Calabria, Mary Amabile Palmer boldly breaks the silence and introduces an exciting new cuisine to the world. Located just across the Mediterranean from North Africa--not far from Greece and Asia Minor--Calabria has long been the target of invasion and occupation; whatever the political fallout of such incursions, Calabrian cooking is all the richer for the introduction of foreign cuisine and ingredients (olives from the Greeks; eggplants and pine nuts from the Arabs)--that contribute a succulent and daring mélange of taste and texture.

In addition to the recipes themselves, Mary Amabile Palmer, a first- generation Italian American, includes anecdotes about Calabrian culture, history, traditions, and festivals, as well as recollections from her childhood. These delightful snippets provide context to the more than 200 Calabrian dishes detailed in Cucina di Calabria, making the book as much fun to read as it is to cook from. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"[This volume] delivers fully on its promise of an authentic Southern Italian culinary experience." --Publishers Weekly

"Clabria's cuisine has until now remained in the shadows of Italian cooking, but thanks to Mary Amabile Parker's compilation of recipes that she knows and loves and her infectious enthusiasm for her Calabrian heritage, we can all sample Calabrian fare as it is meant to be." --Mary Ann Esposito, host of "Ciao Italia" on PBS and author of Ciao Italia
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Product Details

  • Series: Cookbooks
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocrene Books; 2 edition (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0781810507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781810500
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Donna Di Giacomo VINE VOICE on November 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Even with the knowledge that the author is a first-generation Italian-American (or, more accurately, Calabrian-American), I'm used to these cookbooks proclaiming to contain authentic recipes and they turn out to be nothing more than Italian cuisine that's been completely Americanized (Giada De Laurentiis is one example).

Not so with "Cucina di Calabria."

I was very happy that the author took the time to authenticate American Italian recipes (which, unfortunately but not surprisingly, have been completely Americanized in many cases) and that she tasted and tested the recipes she got from the always gracious people of Calabria. Her efforts paid off in the final product and I'm proud that, finally, a cookbook of the wonderful cuisine that is Calabria's is available to the cooking public in the English language.

While Palmer did an outstanding job with this book, it's important to know that there is no such thing as *the* definitive Italian cookbook. Many people (sadly, American Italians most of all) don't realize that Italy has never been a truly united country since Roman times (and even then it was splintered). The North has a heavy French, Slavic, and German influence (among others) that's prevalent in their cooking (polenta, butter, cream, lard, and the like are staples of Northern Italian cooking) while the South has a heavy Greek, Albanian, and Middle Eastern influence in their cooking style (olive oil, peppers, spaghetti, pizza, etc.). Despite all that, though, the author did one hell of a job in compiling a cookbook that, as it stands now, is the bible for Calabrese cooking.

It also helps to take the time to read the detailed history of Calabria she included in the beginning of the book.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Richmass@aol.com on July 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was added to our collection about 2 months ago and it has rapidly become our favorite cook book. The recipes are very easy to follow and the ingredients readily available. It has been like dining at a Trattoria with every meal. Even the addition of a side dish complements other main courses. I strongly recommend this as part of your library or as a gift.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mary J. Berger on January 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can still see my mother rolling the dough out on the specially covered tabletop. I knew that whatever she was creating it would be delicious! This book brought back to life the recipes that my mother used for our daily as well as festive meals, ala Calabrese. Here are the recipes that seem to be the basics for Calabrian food preparations. They follow the simple rules for maintenance of nutrition, satisfaction of anyone's hunger pangs, and easy to follow preparation directions. Ms. Palmer's recipe for 'Petrali' brought back so many warm memories of Easter, Christmas, and New Year celebrations that took place in our home. The 'Bistecca alla Pizzaiola' recipe was one of our family favorites. We always skillfully sopped up the flavorful tomato sauce as we ate the fork tender meat, always leaving a clean plate. This cook book is not only recipes, but a history of the Calabrian people. A story of who they are, where they came from, who influenced them to become what they are today, a wonderfully resourceful people from the toe of the Italian boot.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne R. on October 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received this book in the mail just the other day and I have stayed up late nights reading it. I just love it. My father who was orphaned by 11 years old used to talk about his mother's wonderful cooking. He especially remembered a type of roll that had an anchovy in it that would melt in your mouth. Lo and behold there was the recipe (zeppole). How I wish he was still with us so that I could make it for him. I recognize many of the dishes I vaguely remember as a child and can't wait to try them. I also very much enjoyed the essays about Calabria. I have many cookbooks but this is my favorite.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My mother - who hails from Calabria -- is this book's biggest fan. She is normally suspicious of attempts to capture the richness of the complete culture (historical, culinary, story-telling) of southern Italy, many of which attempts come off as spaghetti-and-meatball tours of a complex place. Amabile Palmer has achieved a consummate tribute to Calabria. The book makes for beautiful reading and cooking, a great present.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Penne on December 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've made the caponata and two of the biscotti recipes. Based on great results I'll make other recipes too. One of the biscotti recipes I've memorized from making it so much. It is so simple and I make a batch every week for our morning caffe. Definitely a quality of life improvement! My mother asked me, 'Why do you fool around when you have a really good recipe already?' Fortunately, I did, because this recipe is probably my favorite, has no added fat other than that in the eggs and is so easy to vary as you want. I love my cookbooks by northern Italian ladies but find the southern selection a little more sketchy (I'm probably just not familiar with the books) so this is really a welcome addition for me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary Parisi on January 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
The recipes in this book are very easy to follow and the food is typical Italian: delicious! Being of Calabrian descent, i was able to find some recipes that I had only heard my mother talk about - since recipes in a typical Italian household were never written down, some recipes were "lost" in my family. These recipes allowed us to recreate and rediscover some of the old family recipes. Priceless! It was also fun to see some of our family recipes in print form - "Hey look! That's grandma's recipe!" Or "didn't Aunt Theresa used to make that?"

My three year old daughter loves the mushroom salad. She tried it of her own volition! Simple antipasti to hearty meals, this book is the book I turn to when I want something familiar and easy to make.
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