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Diary of a Tuscan Chef Hardcover – March 16, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1st edition (March 16, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385485476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385485470
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 8.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you like to mix reading and cooking, Cesare Casella offers a delightful blend of family reminiscences and recipes for Tuscan dishes in this charmingly written, culinarily opinionated book. Casella first came to the attention of food lovers while cooking at Il Vipore, the restaurant his parents started in a small Tuscan town near Lucca in 1964. Under his guidance, the restaurant won a Michelin star in 1993, the same year he moved to New York City to cook at Coco Pazzo. In Diary of a Tuscan Chef he enthusiastically shares stories about his parents and family and of growing up in rural Italy. The accompanying recipes are, of course, for Tuscan dishes. There is supernally hearty Zuppa di Gran Farro della Garfagnana, made with a grain available at Italian markets (or that you can replace with barley) and Pesto alla Cesare, enlightened with fresh chervil (or parsley) and anchovies. Crostini of Tuscan bread made with tomatoes and aromatic herbs, including ginger, perfectly illustrates how Casella's cooking blends tradition with creativity. Whether its 150 recipes please or startle you, Diary of a Tuscan Chef is bound to enchant.

From Publishers Weekly

Having cooked for New Yorkers since 1993 (at Coco Pazzo, Il Toscanaccio, Il Cantinori), Casella presents traditional recipes from his native Lucca that are often tweaked with ingredients more likely to be found in New York City than in Tuscany (e.g., ginger and lemongrass). Dividing the book by seasons, he offers menus built around seasonally fresh ingredients and suggests appropriate wines. Ten four-course meals (antipasto, prima and seconda piatta, dolce) contain menu combinations that evoke specific moments in Casella's life: one winter menu, L'Arrivo a New York (Arriving in New York), combines beans, mushrooms and game with Chick-Pea and Leek Salad; a smoky Pasta with Mushroom Sauce (cremini, shiitake, oyster and portobello); Rabbit, Hunter's Style cooked in white wine with garlic, sage, rosemary and olives; and a creamy Country Apple Tart. Celebrating Spring vegetables is a menu called Cesare Va in Dieta (Cesare Goes on a Diet), which features a Seven-Vegetable Salad; Do-It-Yourself Vegetable Soup (he encourages improvising); Chicken in Paper, with bell and chile peppers, tomatoes and cinnamon; and light Meringue Cookies. Although many recipes may take time to prepare, they are easy to follow and don't require special equipment or rare ingredients.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Kessler on February 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Our trip to Tuscany was a dream come true. We met friends for lunch just outside of Florence. Our friend recommended Diary of Tuscan Chef, and as soon as we returned home I ordered it. It is a treasure trove of wonderful stories as well as outstanding recipes. The Roasted Rosemary Potatoes reflect Italian simplicity and depth of taste. Outstanding!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have tried several of these recipes and find them to be very good with balanced flavors. The book does what the author says it does; i.e. gives us good Tuscan recipes, true to the region, with ingredients that are readily available in the United States.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Fantastic! Wonderful simple Italian recipes adapted for home cooking and written in a delightful story form. Every recipe I tried was delicious. Most highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andre 2015 on August 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is so much fun to read, you sometimes forget that you still need to go the market to get the ingredients for tonight's dinner.
"Recipes and Memories of Good Times and Great Food" is written on the cover. And that's what this is. Lovingly illustrated with photographs mostly of family life back home - in Tuscany.
Caesare Casella is one of the greatest Chefs around. This is his personal cook book. Normally that should say enough. In short: it's a marvel.
The book is divided in four parts, after the seasons. Don't expect any photographs of the dishes cause there are (almost) none. Only memories. But they are wonderful!
From some of the blurbs on the back cover (and I agree with them all):
Mario Batali: what makes this book so great is the simplicity of Tuscany that is bell-clear in Caesare's recipes, but even more evident when he writes of his experiences. The transcendental clarity of the Tuscan soul and soil is evident in every phrase, the dry humor in every story, and the austere observation in every observation.
Faith Willinger: Delizioso!
Sheila Lukins: Caesare is one of the most flamboyant and sensitive chefs I've ever met. His love for food, family, and country translate in some of the most delightful home cooking I've tasted in years.
Julian Niccolini: This book is full of life, flavors and great simple food.
In short: Terrific!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LizRinCary on April 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband sleeps with this under his pillow, and since he's the cook in the family, that's good. This one competes with the Lidia Bastianich for pillow space.
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