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Italy in Small Bites Hardcover – October 18, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Field’s well-researched and elegantly written cookbook on Italy’s merende (comparable to Spanish tapas and Greek meze), originally published in 1993, gets a new look and a new foreword to appeal to a new generation of readers. Merende, small midmorning or afternoon snacks, can be as simple as a wedge of cheese and a slice of bread, or as complex as the Pugliese merende called Puddhica, which comprises mussels, clams and octopus, sauteed with garlic and served alongside homemade focaccia. Several of Field’s merende could double as dinner-the Polenta con Baccala Mantecato (Polenta with Creamy Salt Cod) is rich and salty, a culinary heavyweight made from the dried cod formerly considered "a dish of the poor." Erbazzone (Spinach Pie), a "quintessential" springtime merenda that incorporates fresh spinach, eggs, pancetta and almost a cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, is also very satisfying. On the lighter side, there’s a variety of tempting crostini topped with everything from sweet peppers to olive paste to mozzarella, anchovies and tomatoes. Any of these would make wonderful cocktail party pass-arounds, as would Frico, crisp doilies of aged Montasio or Asiago cheese. There are even merende recipes to satisfy a sweet tooth, such as Amaretti al Caffe, the classic cookies so delicious with coffee, and Torta di Riso, a luxurious rice pudding torte. Field (The Italian Baker; Celebrating Italy) is a scholar of Italian food; her book includes a history of merende, a selected bibliography and a fairly comprehensive source guide for hard-to-find ingredients. Although Field laments the passing of the traditional snacktime in Italy-a victim, she says, of packaged, processed foods and an increasingly hectic way of life-her cookbook guarantees that the merende heritage can live on wherever people like to snack Italian-style.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Field is the well-known author of several books on Italy and its cuisine, including Celebrating Italy ( LJ 11/15/90) and the widely praised The Italian Baker ( LJ 11/15/85). Now she turns to merende , traditional Italian snack food, a category that includes both the American favorite, pizza, and a wide range of more unusual regional "little dishes." Many merende are based on bread or bread dough, Field's own specialty, and she has collected lots of mouth-watering recipes for bruschetta, crostini, and focaccia in all its incarnations, as well as various sweet and savory breads. There are also salads, bocconcini ("little bites," or finger food), and more. Recipes are simple, rustic, and uncomplicated, although some do involve a certain amount of preparation. Considering our current obsession with Italian food and the popularity of snack food, this is sure to be in demand.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1st edition (October 18, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688111971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688111977
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,868,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Carol Field is a major star in the field of Italian culinary writers to whom respect is shown by most major Italian food writers and many major bread baking authors for her important book `The Italian Baker'. In turn, Field shows respect for many of her colleagues such as Patience Gray and Paula Wolfert in this book.
I was always puzzled when I read in books on Greek and Spanish food that the western Mediterranean tapas and the eastern Mediterranean Mezes of both Greece and Turkey were not the same as the Italian `little dishes' labeled antipasto. The basis for this difference was that tapas and Mezes are made to be eaten as `bar food' in the afternoon, several hours before sitting down to the final meal of the day. Antipasto, by its very name, on the other hand, is the first course of a large meal. The source of the puzzle is that I found it very hard to believe that there was an old Mediterranean tradition with well-identified dishes at both sides of the Mediterranean, but none in the center in Italy, the very heart of Mediterranean cuisine.
This book answers this question. Italy has not one, but two names for between meal snacks. The older, more traditional name for a snack in the afternoon, about the same time their English cousins are having tea, is called `merenda'. Like tapas and Mezes, these are specifically made and served by Enoteca (wine bars) as well as being a traditional afternoon snack for agricultural workers in the fields. For this reason, one of the defining characteristics of merenda dishes is that they can be eaten while holding them in one hand. The derivation of the term `merenda' can be traced back to classical Latin. The second term, `spuntino' is a nineteenth century invention meaning a mid-morning snack, not unlike doughnuts at the morning coffee break.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Franco on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Italy in small bites follows the pattern of other books by Carol Field. The recipes are well researched, authentic and well tested. If you follow the directions, the end result will come out as she describes. It is heartwarming for me to see many of the items in the cookbook I am familiar with and that bring back fond memories. Not to mention being able to reproduce such recipes! Among others, I have tried the Bucellato recipe (a sweet bread from Lucca with a lot of history behind it) and it has now become one of my favorite breakfast food (and also as an occasional snack or after dinner sweet bite). Brava Carol!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Soju on December 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It would help if the recipe titles had translations so we'd know what the recipe is before reading the preparation directions. As far as Carol Fields recipes there gold as usual.
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