As more and more Italian foods and wines cross the seas, you may need to know the difference between terms like "passito" and "passato." According to the Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink
, the first is a type of sweet wine, the second a puréed soup or smooth tomato sauce. Within the 2300 definitions, John Mariani includes the history of many items in this comprehensive yet concise guide. He explains the origins of popular dishes and why, for example, you won't find Veal Parmigiano in Italy. Along with information that will help cooks in tracking down ingredients there are recipes for Spaghetti Carbonara, Pasta & Fagioli, Zuppa Inglese, and other classics. The entries for regional Italian foods make this book a useful companion for travelers, and it's compact enough to fit in your carry-on bag. --Dana Jacobi
From Library Journal
From the origins of gnocchi to a short history of restaurants in Italy, Mariani's latest book is a treasure trove of Italian culinary terms. Entries, ranging from a single sentence to several pages in length, are arranged alphabetically with a phonetic spelling of the Italian word to guide non-Italian speakers. When it comes to entries on specific dishes, Mariani (The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, LJ 2/15/94) tries to note enough regional variations on classic recipes so that the reader can sort them all out. While smaller libraries may be able to rely on a standard cooking reference source such as Larousse Gastronomique (Crown, 1998. reprint) to cover some of the same terms that Mariani's book does, there are some significant differences between the two, even when they cover the same item. For example, in the entry for pizza, Larousse Gastronomique offers about a half-page overview of the topic with two recipes, while Mariani's entry has no recipes but is almost three pages and provides details on the historical background of pizza as well as such things as a complete listing of the rules for a true Neapolitan pizza. Medium-sized and larger libraries, especially those with an interest in the culinary arts, will want to add this unique title to their collections.AJohn Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.