From Publishers Weekly
Fields well-researched and elegantly written cookbook on Italys 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 Fields 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, theres 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.
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--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.
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Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.