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Jamie's Italy Hardcover – October 25, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Oliver, television's Naked Chef, may have been born in Southend-on-Sea, but he turns out to have an Italian soul in this collection of recipes from all over the Boot. As an outsider, Oliver has great reverence for the traditions of Italy, and he offers some surprisingly deep insight about how a lack of choice and a massive working-class population have kept those traditions alive. This is no sugar-coated fairy tale, however: Oliver doesn't hesitate to get down-and-dirty, as in a description of Palermo street food served by hand from a "chain-smoking, dirty-looking bloke," and he cogently explains why he insisted on including a "graphic and gruesome" photo of a slaughtered sheep. Indeed, Oliver enthusiastically encourages British and American readers to familiarize themselves with foods less common in their home countries such as rabbit. Nonna Giusy's Fish with Couscous reflects the African influences of Sicily, and Altamura Pea Soup with fresh peas and broken spaghetti perfectly represents the Italian genius for making something out of almost-nothing. Desserts include a simple Pear Sorbet with grappa. Candid photos such as one of Oliver's mentor's father, a 96-year-old who cooks for himself every day reinforce the personal feel of this collection, and the impression that Oliver has a deep affinity for Italian food, no matter his British roots. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"His books make me want to shop, cook, and sit down to eat." -- Andrew Scalvani, New York Times

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition, First Printing edition (October 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401301959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401301958
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jamie Oliver started cooking at his parents' pub, the Cricketers, in Clavering, Essex, at the age of eight, and has gone on to work with some of the world's top chefs. He founded Fifteen restaurant in London and the associated charity, Fifteen Foundation, which continues to train disadvantaged young people to become chefs. There are now three other Fifteen restaurants in the world: Cornwall, Amsterdam and Melbourne. Jamie has also launched a chain of high street restaurants in the UK called Jamie's Italian. In 2005 Jamie led a campaign to improve the quality of school dinners in the UK and, through the Feed Me Better movement, caused the government to substantially change its policy towards school food. Jamie continues to write for publications in the UK and around the world, including his own magazine, Jamie Magazine. He lives in London and Essex with his wife, Jools, and their daughters, Poppy, Daisy and Petal.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Anna V. Carroll on November 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As someone who has been a Jamie Oliver fan since Day 1, it has been delightful to watch him grow up and mature over the years. I own all of his cookbooks, and a few of his cooking DVDs. Wish all of them were available here in the US. This book is just wonderful. The photographs are fantastic. The stories that accompany the recipes are so friendly and inviting that you feel you're standing there talking with everyone. This is the kind of cookbook you pass down to your kids. It's a treasure in every respect.

Speaking of recipes, he really has traveled all over Italy, to every nook and cranny, to find delightful, fresh and unique recipes that you haven't seen before in other 'Italian' cookbooks. He covers: Antipasti, street food, pizza, soups, pastas, risotto, salads, main courses, fish, meat, side dishes, and deserts. The book is a staggering 307 pages, and it's just full of Italian food. Everything from mixed, roasted vegetables to roasted sole three ways, to sausages with green lentils, to lamb kabobs, fried zucchini, fig tart, and so many recipes your head will swim and your senses will go on overload.

With this extraordinary book, Jamie Oliver shows the world why he has such staying power in the 'food biz' and why millions of people world-wide adore him. I'm old enough to be his mum (my daughter is a year older than he is), but I've got a real soft spot for the lad. He has paid his dues, worked very, very hard, hasn't let fame change who he is. This Italian cookbook is a joy in every way. What a wonderful holiday gift this would be for anyone you love.

Thank you, Jamie! It's a beautiful book.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Mike Scott on December 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver and his cookbooks. I have several. This one did not disappointment me although I held off buying it for several months because I love Italian food and wasn't sure Jamie would be up to it. He spent several months travelling and cooking in Italy and it shows. The book again highights his sense of humor and love of cooking. The photography is great and his fun attitude shines through the entire book. I've read the book cover to cover and cooked 6-7 recipes. All are easy to understand and produce excellent results. This guy can cook and write. If you like Jamie or Italian cooking this is an excellent book. I especially recommend the following recipes: Peposo (hunter's peppery beef stew). I used mine over pasta and it was a hit. His roasted squash is excellent as is his stuffed leg of lamb. I look forward to using more of his recipes and have recommended it to my cooking friends.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Danielle on November 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My friend from Germany brought me a copy of this book in June of this year (I didn't even realize until recently that it's not out in the U.S. yet...)But if you love a delicious home-cooked Italian meal, this is one of the most accessible books out there. And the recipes I've tried make up beautifully. I love Jamie's commitment to fresh, local ingredients, his writing in each section and the layout of the book. So many great recipes (even a quick tiramisu!) and they are arranged with pics of the food, of Jamie, and of some really fabulous Italian cooks he met on his travels. from Antipasti to Street Food to Salads, Soups, Risotto, Main Courses and Dessert, it's got everything I need...I especially love the pizzas and the white risotto. I can't wait to watch the show on Travel Channel!
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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`jamie's italy' (sic) by `The Naked Chef', Jamie Oliver tops, for me, all of his earlier books, especially in that magical quality which only Oliver, of all the cookbook authors I've read, seems to have in abundance. That may be just a bit heavy on the hyperbole, since all the leading English culinary writers, the heirs of Elizabeth David, such as Nigel Slater, Nigella Lawson, and Tamasin Day-Lewis all seem to communicate a `joie de vivre' which seems to be rare to non-existent in even the best Yankee culinary writers. I'm especially delighted to see his nibs even give a bow to Elizabeth David in his dedication.

The book reaffirms my earlier comparison of Oliver and Robin Williams, versus lets say, Susan Spungen and Dan Aykroyd. While Aykroyd is a very talented comedian, Robin Williams is a force of nature. Similarly, while Ms. Spungen's first book will probably win a James Beard award (it is nominated), Oliver's books grab you by the heart and never let go from first page to last.

I will even go so far as to say Oliver's book is superior as a first Italian cookbook than the eminent Mario Batali, Lydia Bastianich, or certainly Giada De Laurentiis. In fact, this book validates my giving Giada's books only four stars, as a rather thin, albeit `easy' presentation of familiar Italian dishes.

The book is certainly an even more genuine and personal chronicle of experiences with Italian food than Mario Batali's `travelogue' book, `Simple Italian Food, Recipes from My Two Villages', not to mention the rather detached and sterile reporting of Italian regional cooking by Mary Ann Esposito of the PBS `Ciao, Italia' series. All recipes appear to have been personally discovered by Oliver `in vivo', mostly in southern Italy, including Sicily and the islands off Sicily.
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