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The Talisman Italian Cookbook: Italy's bestselling cookbook adapted for American kitchens Hardcover – December 13, 1950

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Il Talismano is and has been for over 50 years the one great standard Italian cookbook. It is to Italians what Joy of Cooking is to Americans. Containing in simple and clear form the best recipes for all the foods that we associate with Italian cuisine, it covers all the regional variations of Italian cooking: Milanese, Bolognese, Venetian, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Veronese, and Florentine.

Appetizers range from the simply elegant, like Cantaloupe and Prosciutto and Artichoke Hearts in Olive Oil, to the sublime, like Tunnied Veal and Crostini of Mozzarella and Anchovies. Soups include Stracciatella, Fish Brodetto Rimini Style, and Tuscan Minestrone.

No part of Italy is very far from the sea, a fact reflected in the variety and quality of Italian seafood preparations: Flounder with Black Butter Sauce, Lobster alla Diavolo, Mullet in Piquant Sauce, Scungilli Marinara, and Shrimp Buongusto. For the landlocked there are recipes for Beefsteak alia Pizzaiola, Ossobuco, Saltimbocca, Scaloppine al Marsala, Loin of Pork with Milk, Chicken Cacciatora, Chicken Livers with Sage, Wild Duck with Lentils, and Rabbit in Egg Sauce.

Pasta is perhaps Italy's greatest contribution to world cuisine, and The Talisman contains dozens of authentic recipes like Homemade Ravioli, Green Lasagna Modena Style, and Spaghetti Marinara. There are recipes for Polenta, the Italian cornmeal preparation, as well as rice dishes and pizza.

Finally, Italian desserts are explored in full: Almond Macaroons, Pine Nut Cookies, Ricotta Pie, Zeppole, and Zuppa Inglese. There is also a glossary (complete with pronunciation guide) to Italian cooking terms.

For the American edition of The Talisman, all weights, measurements, instructions, and ingredients have been adapted to American usage. The result is a collection of recipes that are as easy to prepare as they are delicious to eat.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: CROWN PUBLISHERS, INC. (December 13, 1950)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517503875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517503874
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book with high expectations. . . I wanted to consult a cookbook that was written for Italians and was considered authentic. This book was translated several decades ago and "adapted for american kitchens" which means that a lot of the recipes are translated using substitute ingredients that are not authentic. There are a lot more italian cooking ingredients available in grocery stores today than when this book was translated but the revision does not take account of it.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Her copy is falling apart from years of use, but it is _identical_ (not a single change) to the one I bought new a few years ago.
If you are looking for authentic Italian food that you could feel proud serving, get this book. It also has a good number of vegetarian dishes and pastries and ices.
I just used it for dinner tonight...
Her other cookbooks are excellent, as well, although they have beautiful pictures and the Talisman doesn't
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By C. Craig on June 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
it has some weaknesses due to the greater availability of genuine ingredients in either supermarkets or italian markets..

the translation lacks some of the delightful formality in the original..the recipes however, are the same as the ones I grew up with in my Nonna's kitchen in Rome..and still consult in my own homes 40 years later...when I compare the recipes in Il Talismano to the dog eared and stained ones handwritten when I was learning to cook..they are right on the money! Enjoy and Buon Appetito a tutti
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ann Teti on December 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My mother gave me this cookbook dated back to 1950. Special Edition Printed For: Ronzoni Macaroni Co., Inc. By: Crown Publisher, New York, NY USA. This is the best Italian Cookbook I have ever used. My mother used it to prepare all her childrens foods and I am carrying on the family tradition thru its use. Christmas would not be Christmas without the receipes included in this cherished family keepsake.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amalfi Coast Girl on April 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A passionate home cook that has been honing her cooking skills for the last 25 years, concentrating on Italian cooking for the last 10 years, writes this review. My favorite cookbooks are "The Professional Chef" by the Culinary Institute and "Culinary Artistry". With more than 500 cookbooks in my collection I am usually disappointed in my recent cookbook acquisitions. I am also very tough on Italian cookbooks in particular.

This book is a wonderful addition to any Italian cookbook library. If you were looking for a good basic Italian cookbook to begin your Italian cooking library this would make a wonderful start. This cookbook is simple Italian cooking at its best. Most of the recipes in this book are quick (Panettone excluded). I always use the cannoli recipe from this book, with a little creative license taken here and there.

The author also does a nice job of highlighting the regional differences in preparing dishes. I highly recommend this book for anyone that is interested in learning more about Italian cooking.

The book is subdivided as follows:
1. Antipasto
2. Soups
3. Egg Dishes
4. Cheese
5. Fish and Shellfish
6. Meat
7. Poultry
8. Game
9. Macaroni, Spaghetti and Rice
10. Pizza
11. Vegetables
12. Salads
13. Desserts
14. Beverages

My one criticism of the book is in the directions themselves. If you are an accomplished cook the directions are more than adequate. However, if you are a cooking novice the directions are a little lacking. I think this is due to the original publishing date of 1950. This book was written in a time when all women had been taught to cook by their mothers. Sadly, this is not the case today.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on December 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book-an adaptation, not a translation of an Italian

cookbook was published in 1950. This was a time when

many Americans still held to various dumb and demeaning

stereotypes about Italy and Italians. If there was any

knoweldge of Italian food at all, it was based on an

experience at a few southern Italian-styled restaurants

that had opened in major American cities.

This book and the television show that accompanied it were

useful correctives to the few Americans who were aware of

them. The TV show was a pioneering 'food-tv' effort by a

husband and wife team called the Bontempi. The book itself

was sponsored by the Ronzoni Pasta Company in Queens, New

York and was sold for $3.00 on the show.

Fifty-five years later, the recipes look remarkably soph-

isticated. The only tomato sauce recipe is on the fourth

page of the sauce section and rice dishes get almost as

much space as pasta. Classic dishes-like Saltimbocca and

Osso Buco Milanese abound and Lasagne are prepared in

both Northern and Southern versions. There are a few Italian-

American dishes included-you can have two different

versions of spaghetti and meatballs, but the recipe listed

under 'meatball' is for a one and half pound loaf,

simmered in stock.

The introductory essay by the linguist Mario Pei is priceless.

He explains in the most gentle terms the difference between

American stereotypes and Italian reality.

For a snapshot of Italian food before it became modernized,

this book is irreplaceable.
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