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The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 6, 1999

47 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 6, 1999
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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews Review

Lynne Rossetto Kasper's authoritative first book, The Splendid Table, explored the food and culture of Emilia-Romagna, Italy's culinary heartland. In The Italian Country Table, a collection of 200 regional recipes gathered from farmhouse cooks, Kasper once again provides cultural investigation and authentic, workable recipes. The resulting cookbook-cum-chronicle will appeal to anyone seeking delicious, down-to-earth dishes and an introduction to cherished culinary traditions.

Covering every course of an Italian meal--from antipasti through pasta to vegetables and, of course, dessert--the book weaves recipes with vignettes exploring, for example, Puglia's ritual drying of winter tomatoes. Included also are notes on buying tips, special cooking techniques such as glazing, and discussions of culinary moment, like the nature of a true risotto Milanese. The immediately inviting recipes include such temptations as Mushrooms Stuffed with Radicchio and Asiago, Hot and Spicy Eggplant Soup, Leg of Lamb Glazed with Balsamic and Red Wine, and Espresso Ricotta Cream with Espresso Chocolate Sauce. Kasper also offers a chapter on focaccia, pizza, and bread, as well as menus, shopping sources, and a useful discussion of ingredients. (Taste before you buy, and then pause, she advises. "Aftertaste can reveal how a food's been stored, careless production, or foods going from mature to over the hill.") Concluding with a guide to Italian guest farms, folk life museums, and places to eat and shop, the book is a comprehensive introduction to basic but inspired home cooking and the traditions that both contain and nurture it. --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

With this equally successful follow-up, Kasper proves that her first cookbook, The Splendid Table (which won awards from both James Beard and the IACP), was no fluke. The recipes here are collected from home cooks living in the Italian countrysideAmany of them on working farms. While most of the recipes are simple, Kasper never rests on her laurels by offering an already-familiar formula. Her Tomato-Mozzarella Salad with Pine Nuts and Basil is enhanced with red onion and currants. These are satisfying dishes, and most of them can be assembled quickly, like Seafood Saut? with Stubby Pasta and Spaghettini with Shrimp, Chickpeas and Young Greens. Flavors are never timid: Hot-and-Spicy Eggplant Soup packs a punch with chilies that marry interestingly with fresh mint; and gutsy Sweet-Sour Meatballs for St. Joseph's Day contain cinnamon and candied citron. Italian "home" desserts are satisfying and unfussy: Chocolate Polenta Pudding Cake and Iced Summer Peaches. In addition to concocting tight, clear recipes, Kasper writes beautiful prose. Even recipe headersAwhich include sensible "Cook to Cook" notes containing special tipsAare carefully crafted. Unobtrusive wine suggestions for most dishes are a bonus. Few American writers "get" Italy this clearly; fewer still can communicate their knowledge so smartly. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (October 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684813254
  • ASIN: B000NA6U7Y
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,336,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The Splendid Table®, public radio's award-winning, national food show from American Public Media, taps into the latest from the food world with experts of every stripe. Heard on over 350 public radio stations, host Lynne Rossetto Kasper explores the entire spectrum of food: from cheese making, to tracking down bargain wines, to the science behind a great cup of coffee, to finding the best little greasy spoons in America. The Splendid Table has been at the forefront of food issues and policies since its inception.

In 1969, when Lynne began cooking monthly Chinese banquets for her friends in New York (obsessively researching each dish), she never imagined she'd have a career in food. Those banquets led to an insatiable curiosity about the dimensions of food, and that turned into the career Lynne never expected.

Between writing, teaching, lecturing on food and culture, and her explorations, Lynne's research has covered much of America and Europe. In 1995 she and producer Sally Swift, working with American Public Media, created public radio's national food show, The Splendid Table®.

Between her books and the show, Lynne has received numerous James Beard and IACP awards, including Cookbook of the Year from both The James Beard Foundation and the IACP for her first book The Splendid Table. The Splendid Table® radio program has received multiple honors, including four Best National Talk Show Clarion Awards, two James Beard awards for Best National Radio Show on Food, and several Gracie awards from American Women in Radio and Television. Lynne is a member of the James Beard Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. She lectures on food and culture and teaches cooking on both sides of the Atlantic and is a popular keynote speaker. More information is available at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 95 people found the following review helpful By S.H. Erlich on November 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a book for people who love to eat - cooking is not really necessary for its enjoyment! Ms. Kasper is a wonderful writer who paints with words as beautifully as she cooks. Recipes are forthright - simple ingredients simply prepared. (For those who want a more complicated cuisine I'd recommend her first book ("The Splendid Table"). Here she tells tales and recites the folklore of the Italian countryside; she explains the heartland of the country and and the heart(s) of it's people. Since we can't all travel with Ms. Kasper as she makes her rounds, this is as close to heaven as we can get without a plane ticket! FIVE STARS!
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Bleu on October 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover

How I adore this cookbook. I have a lot of cookbooks, and I always reach for this one first. First of all, you can read it like a novel. LRK's stories are wonderful, and hearing the origins -- anthropological, agricultural, familial, anecdotal --is really fun for a literary foodie type (like me).


But my appreciation of this book goes way beyond its bedside appeal. It's my first, best resource in the kitchen, too. I've noticed a few of the other reviewers found the recipes a little complex, and I'd like to address that. It's true that some are multi-step and use a lot of dishes. It's true that, say, the Tyrolean Pot Roast (*drool*) might take a couple tries before it comes out letter-perfect. But let me balance that by saying that:


(1) there are plenty of recipes so simple you'll find yourself using them every night. Like string beans with olive oil, salt and pepper (optional raw garlic halved and rubbed on the sides of the bowl). It's one of those foundational recipes accessible enough for a novice cook, and the technique may be applied to many vegetables.


(2) Even in Rossetto Kasper's more complicated recipes are not tricky because she explains them so well. It's really hard to take traditional recipes passed down through generations without measurements, cooking by feel, and in another language, no less -- and translate them into a coherent step-by-step set of instructions. That's exactly what Rossetto Kasper has done, though -- she takes recipes a la nonna (grandma recipes) and converts them into accessible text that any home cook can achieve if they really try.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Daniel A. Davis on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Lynn's books combine history with recipes. You have the feeling you are sharing the Italian tradition, a link to great food. Anyone who enjoyed the extra food histories in her "The Splendid Table" must sample this great new Italian cookbook. Her researching is painstaking and exhaustive.
I know because I first met her in 1984; I prepared a dinner for her that year, using a new recipe for butterflied leg of lamb on the grill, and only later did I discover it was her recipe from an issue of "Bon Appetit". That meal was a highlight of my amateur career, shared only with the pleasure of being a part of her pre-publication surprise party for submission of the manuscript of "The Splendid Table".
Lynn's recipes live - - they talk to you. You experience them. This new volume is a must for lovers of good food and instructive cookbooks.
Dan Davis
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A cookbook that reads like a novel and brings to the table recipes that would make anyone's grandmother proud. After making "Nonna's Lasagne" I immediately called my mother, who has been making lasagne for more years than she'll let me admit, to emphatically state that this was the best lasagne I'd ever made. The recipes are simple to follow but the end products are anything but simple to the taste, the dishes are exquisite! The cook-to-cook hints are extremely helpful and the stories that are layered through the book are delightful. If you love italian food you must own this book. Grazie molto Lynne.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By mirope on April 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is so much more than just a cookbook; it is a fascinating look at all aspects of Italian "country" cooking. Lynn Rossetto Kasper's deep love for her Italian heritage seeps out of every page of this book, and you can't help but share her enthusiasm. She takes you through the basics of Italian cooking in a whole new light. For example, not only does she teach you how to make pasta, but she also unravels the mystery of how to pair pasta and sauce. Even better, she tells you which brands of dried pasta are best and exactly how to cook them. The section on tomato sauces is amazing. She doesn't just give you a few recipes - she explains the four basic varieties of tomato sauces and when to use each. Reading this book teaches you how to think about food like an Italian home cook. Once you can do that, you don't need a recipe to plan a meal, just the right ingredients and a love for great food.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Federico (Fred) Moramarco VINE VOICE on January 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a great fan of Lynne Rossetto Kaspar's "The Splendid Table" for several years now, having prepared and enjoyed many great meals from that award winning book. Although "The Italian Country Table" is less comprehensive and detailed than "The Splendid Table," it offers an irresistable selection of recipes from the Italian countryside. The fabulous food of Apulia is one of Italy's greatest culinary secrets, and Kasper gives us a delicious sampling of wonderful Apulian dishes like Pizza Rustica, Fava Beans, and Pasta Puttenesca. My copy is already stained and soiled, the sign of a cookbook that gets a lot of use. These are recipes you'll make again and again. And Kasper is a wonderful writer as well. The book is filled with lore and stories from Italian families throughout the countryside.
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