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Showing 1-10 of 32 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on December 11, 2005
I am Italian and I am living in Italy.

As the Publisher said "this is a popular wedding gift" for us. This means that this book is often used as a reference book. The recipes are not new yet are honest. They may help you in many occasions.

Bookshops are full of books that pretend to be Italian but, in most of the cases, the only Italian thing is the last name of the author.

So buy The Silver Spoon if like Italian food and you are looking for a complete overview of the way we cook and eat.
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on December 1, 2005
What do you do with 3 5-ounce octopuses? I used to go on line, with various levels of success, but now I have The Silver Spoon, 3 of whose 1263 pages are devoted to 6 octopus recipes. I picked the simplest and it was fabulous. So were the artichokes I cooked according to one of the Silver Spoon's 17 recipes. Is it Italian? You bet, which is why it works for me in California. You go to the market, you bring home what looks good, and you cook it--with help, if you need it, from a compendium like the Silver Spoon. The majority of my cookbooks work the American way: find a recipe and then shop for it.

The simple recipes in this book are printed three or four to a page in a clear format. But some are longer and more elaborate, and I plan to ignore them, for two reasons. First, fancy Italian cooking doesn't work for me, as a cook or an eater. Second, the book's layout is perfect for short recipes, not for long ones. Instructions are given in a single paragraph, even if that paragraph occupies an entire page.
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on May 12, 2007
This is the ultimate encyclopaedia of Italian cooking. All those famous, delicious dishes from the very simple to the most intricate ones can be found in this Bible-sized volume. Precious is also the bottom-up approach. All ingredients and special kitchen tools are explained in detail as well as particular ways of preparing ingredients. The recipes themselves are presented in a clear, easy to follow layout. Topped up is this compendium with menu suggestions by renowned chefs so that throwing an Italian dinner party is within the reach of even the less proficient home cook. The only drawback is that imperial measurements are used only, which just doesn't look right with Italian recipes. I've overcome this with a self-made bookmark that gives metric equivalents to ounces, pints, and the other medieval units of measurement. If such a bookmark would have been supplied with the book I'd rated it 5 stars.
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VINE VOICEon July 1, 2007
This is a mammoth collection and many recipes sound terrific. A few problems, though.

What REGION claims the recipe? Italians are tied to their family regions. This information belongs in the recipes.

AMERICAN VERSION OF ITALIAN INGREDIENTS. What type chilies or lettuce, for example, would make the recipes as close to authentic as possible?

PICTURES. There are beautiful pictures of prepared recipes. There are no captions for the pictures, and sometimes, the reader can't guess which recipe on the facing page is pictured.

I'm enjoying using and reading this book, but I wish the publishers had done a little more editing for the U. S. market.
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on May 21, 2006
I think anyone who loves cookbooks and cooking should have this book even if just for collecting. Many of the recipes are simple ways to use ingredients on hand in a manor you may not have thought of.

As far as a previous review saying there are no cooks notes, that is not true. There are notes within the recipes. You just have to read through the procedure.

The only reason it doesn't get 5 stars from me is because it does need some editting help and is not the absolute best Italian cookbook I have ever read. It is definitely a keeper.
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on January 17, 2006
This is an amazing, extraordinarily comprehensive cookbook. The cookbook covers an incredible array of every type of food from vegetables to deserts. It is far more than one can imagine. There is a wonderful section with menus concocted by such Italian cuisine luminaries as Mario Battali and Lidia Bastianich. This book belongs in the library of every serious cook as well as the not-so-experienced cook.

I do feel though that the book has a few pretty significant flaws that beg to be pointed out but should not be show-stoppers for purchasing this wonderful book.

1. The measurements in some recipes are problematic due either to poor translation or just flat-out error. One recipe calls for 6 cups of an ingredient when it clearly should have been 6 tsp. or tbs. Another called for 2 tbs. or a "scant 1/2 cup" of an ingredient. 2 tbs. barely make an 1/8 of a cup. I suppose that's about as scant of 1/2 a cup as you can get.

2. Another major beef is that the photographs aren't annotated. A full-page picture is displayed opposite up to three recipes but you don't really have a clue which recipe the photo illustrates.

These issues are all very minor when you consider the wealth of information presented in this book. Do by all means buy this classic cookbook but read the recipes carefully before you cook. 6 tbs. of flour might make a great roux but 6 cups will not!
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on November 10, 2005
More than half-a-century after it was originally published as an Italian cookbook, this famed manual has refused to retire. Instead, it has become like wine: the longer it endures, the better it becomes.

As long as the issue concerns Italian recipe, "The Silver Spoon" has no rival. It is the ultimate weapon any cook will have in his or her arsenal: the eternal champion of all cookbooks. The information contained in this 1264-paged heavyweight is inexhaustible. It ramified every aspect cookery: right from the best sources of ingredients to the serving/presentation of the finished menu. And, the entire pages of this U.S. edition remained mindful of the American socio-cultural heritage as they went about their instructive business. No wonder many North American mothers present this book as invaluable gifts to their newly married daughters!

This book even included detailed nutritional analyses in its coverage. Practical information on how to compile a balanced diet to suit individual needs abound in it. Its underlying theme is that tasty food needn't be unhealthy! And to this end, generous elaborations were given to uncountable number of stylish menus. So, you now have a well-designed plan for every meal: be it a quick snack or a three-course meal fit for a king.

"The Silver Spoon" is an essential read for all food lovers; and not just for housewives, professional cooks, or hotel and restaurant managers. It offers end-to-end blueprint for preparing a wide variety of recipes. Very few cookbooks can compete on this level. Its retail price seems quite meager, when compared to the vast information it contains. It is simply in a class of its own!
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on July 25, 2006
I recently bought this book, and I've fallen in love with it. I think it's safe to say that this book is not for people learning the basics of cooking, simply because the recipes do not explain the underlying techniques. I've spent the last few years cooking out of the Cooks' Illustrated cookbooks, and I was in the mood for some new ideas. The Silver Spoon is packed with ideas for using each type of food in ways that I've never thought of or stumbled along in the rest of my cookbook collection. I grew up in a rural part of the United States where I simply wasn't exposed to many foods growing up, and I have to introduce myself to new foods and new methods. I surprised myself by cooking up a big bowl of bean sprouts sauteed in butter and topped with a little Parmesan and loving it!

On the other hand, I think if I tried to cook out of this book without having taught myself basic cooking techniques out of much more descriptive and detailed (and pretty much foolproof) books, I think I could easily find myself wallowing in disappointment with this book. A lot of the recipes don't include cooking times...several say "for a few minutes." If you don't have a sense of what you're trying to achieve with that particular ingredient, I think this book could be too ambiguous for someone just starting their culinary adventures.

Like other reviewers mentioned, it is very much like "The Joy of Cooking", but it has so many ideas and recipes that simply aren't common in American cuisine, if you're looking to be less afraid of unfamiliar foods and recipes, it's a wonderful book to read through for ideas.
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on April 26, 2007
This book is mammoth! Beautiful and simply designed, it is a joy to page through. It will take me an entire lifetime to get through it all, which I will probably never be able to do...though I'll try.

Nearly every classic Italian recipe you can think of is in here, and looking through them you'll be shocked at how simple they all are. It's amazing to compare these recipes to the same dishes in other "Americanized" cookbooks that "overly complicate" things by adding extra ingredients, etc. Cooking doesn't have to be organic chemistry, and the simplicity and beauty of Italian cuisine really shines through in these recipes.

My only complaint is the English translation, which in many cases fails to convert metric units to English units. More pictures of the dishes would have been nice, too, since I'm not familiar with a great deal of them.
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on December 12, 2015
There are so many things wrong with this cookbook, but the good is so good that it still brings it up to 4 stars.

First, every time we've made a recipe from here, it has become a beloved standard. Every. Time. They're almost in disguise. The ingredient lists are so spare and plain-looking, and the instructions are so simple. And somehow, that magical Italy taste ends up in each one. I can't explain it. It's like it's possessed.

But trying the recipes takes some chutzpah, for us. Why? Because, to us household cooks, this feels like a pro's shorthand book. Or my grandmother's '30's cookbook, which had instructions like "in a medium-hot oven", or "a goodly amount".

Things that aren't great:
No recipes have a "blurb". There's no description, no context, no suggestions.
The instructions are spare, and curt. They're a single paragraph each. Parmesan Eggplant, for a recognizable example, has ten sentences as its instructions.
Ingredients are not often specific. "4 tomatoes", for instance. Rarely a size or weight, or type, etc.
The pictures don't even have captions, for pairing them with their recipes.

And I love everything I've made.
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