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Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink Paperback – June 8, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (June 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767901290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767901291
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 9 customer reviews
It receives a rare 5-star rating from me.
K. Krueger
I have recipes that are in Italian and I needed a book to help me cross over some food and drink terms.
Linda Badertscher
This dictionary is great if you want to look up the names of Italian foods.
MarieMondello

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Kate Weise on February 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a native Italian with many years of cooking experience, I am always looking for books to expand my knowledge and buy whatever reference books become available. I bought this sight unseen, and was a little upset when I reviewed terms that I am intimately familiar with, only to see them misinterpreted. I could site many examples of this, not the least of which being the definition cited for lampredotto, a unique type of tripe that any Florentine would know, (not the roll it is served on)...Mr. Mariani, you needed to do more research!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book has come to my rescue repeatedly when trying to differentiate between different kinds of pasta. For example, if you're not sure how fettuccine differs from fusilli, here you can find the answer.
I've tried several of the recipes and the one for pesto along with one for my favorite dessert, Zabaione, a warm, frothy, wine-based egg custard, will bring pleasure to anyone seeking scrumptious fare.
Mariani knows his subject. I've been an avid reader of his books. This book is well written, interesting and easy to use. I take it along not only when dining in Italian restaurants and when shopping for ingredients. It would also be an asset for travelers bound for Italy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Krueger on July 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is small but jam-packed. I'm a fan of Italian cuisine, and this book covers (or "defines") it all. If you love Italian food, this is a must-buy. It receives a rare 5-star rating from me.
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Format: Paperback
I love Cooking and Baking. I wanted to explore into International foods. I am partial to the Italians. I'm learning to speak Italian along with Italian cooking, baking, bread making, deserts, drinks, etc. I have recipes that are in Italian and I needed a book to help me cross over some food and drink terms. I went to the library and found this book. I was so excited about what this book had to offer, so I found one and bought it. This book helps me figure out what a word is and explains to me in full detail about that term. Most books teach you how to speak Italian but this book helps in the kitchen. It is what I needed to add to my collection of Italian Books, Cookbooks, and Recipes. :)
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I would recommend this book for anyone who is serious about how to pronounce Italian correctly, and who wants to know the history and meaning of the words. Well written, a gem. I have purchased a copy from Amazon for two of my sons who are serious Italian food lovers.
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More About the Author


John Mariani is an author and journalist of 30 years standing, having begun his writing for New York Magazine in 1973. Since then, he has become known as one of America's premiere food writers (a three-time nominee for the James Beard Journalism Award) and author of several of the most highly regarded books on food in America today.
In 2012 Saveur Magazine won as ASME award for its "Italian-American" issue for which Mariani wrote the lead article. His first book, The Dictionary of American Food & Drink (Ticknor & Fields, 1983) was hailed as the "American Larousse Gastronomique" and was chosen "best reference book on food for 1983" by Library Journal. After a decade when the book was declared a "classic" of American food studies, Hearst Books issued a completely revised edition in 1994. In 1999 Lebhar-Friedman published a revised, expanded version entitled The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, of which he is currently writing the fifth edition, to be published by Bloomsbury.
Mariani' s second book. Eating Out: Fearless Dining in Ethnic Restaurants (Quill, 1985) was called by Food & Wine Magazine "a diner's manual to guerilla tactics for restaurant survival." His third book, Mariani's Coast-to-Coast Dining Guide (Times Books, 1986), which he edited, was widely acclaimed as the American counterpart to France's Guide Michelin. His next book, America Eats Out (William Morrow, 1991) won the International Association of Cooking Professionals Award for Best Food Reference Book. From 1989 through 1999 Mariani co-authored annual editions of Passport to New York Restaurants (Passport Press) and was editor of Italian Cuisine: Basic Cooking Techniques (Italian Wine & Food Institute), which became the textbook for Italian cooking studies at the Culinary Institute of America, and he has written the food and restaurant sections of the Encyclopedia of New York City (The New-York Historical Society and Yale University Press, 1995) and contributed entries to Chronicle of America (Chronicle Publications).
Mariani's other books include The Four Seasons: A History of America's Premier restaurant (Crown, 1997; revised 1999); Vincent's Cookbook (Tenspeed Press, 1995), with chef Vincent Guérithault; The Dictionary of Italian Food & Drink (Broadway Books, 1998) which was nominated for an IACP award; and, with Marie Rama, Grilling for Dummies (IDG Books), which first appeared in 1999 and was revised in 2009.
His newest books are How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2011), which just won the Goumand World Cookbooks Award for the USA 2011, and the Italian Cuisine Worldwide Award 2012. He co-authored Menu Design in America: 1850-1985 (Taschen Books, 2011). He was host for the TV series "Crazy for Food," which played on national PBS stations.
Mariani received his Phd in English from Columbia U. He lives in Tuckahoe NY with his wife, artist Galina Stepanoff-Dargery Mariani. He has two sons, Misha and Christopher.