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The Wise Guy Cookbook: My Favorite Recipes From My Life as a Goodfella to Cooking on the Run Paperback – October 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451207068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451207067
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Forget that faux Sopranos cookbook. Here's the real deal. -- The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Henry Hill began working for the Lucchese crime family in the East New York section of Brooklyn at the age of eleven. Fully indoctrinated into all aspects of gangster life, Henry was involved in virtually every type of racket and criminal activity that the family ran. To avoid prison, he disappeared into the Federal Witness Protection Program, which relocated him and his family in various out-of-the-way places numerous times over the ensuing years.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Would LOVE to meet Henry Hill!!!
Enzo Sultini
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in cooking / eating tasty Italian food.
EMS4
If you like good Italian meals buy this book, forget about it.
P. Mota Da Cruz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Brian Connors VINE VOICE on January 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Don't dis the Sopranos book -- just don't say it's the same thing as this. The Sopranos Family Cookbook is marketing with good recipes, whereas Henry Hill's masterpiece here is as much a retelling of his biography as it is an excellent Sicilian-American cookbook with a heavy emphasis on making do when you can't get what you need.
I think the recipe that sums this book up best is the Oven Penitentiary Sauce, a concoction that Henry and his prison buddies cooked up for those days when the guards have taken all your pots and pans away and all you've got is the steam table pans and the prison bakery. The whole book is like that -- real food, salvaged when something goes wrong. Lots of Italian, but a few surprises from other parts of the country (particularly the South), reflecting Henry's travels in Witness Protection. Substitutions are a big deal too -- from the pork-for-veal scam Hill learned as a kid working in a pizzeria all the way up. Hill's message to cooks: you can always find a way to make it work.
At my bookstore we sold a couple of hundred copies of the Sopranos book over the Holidays, and that was pretty cool. But I had two standard recommendations to go along with that -- Italian Classics from Cooks Illustrated and this one. Of all three (and I say buy them all), fuhgeddaboutit, this is the best -- it's very autobiographical, and will leave you very, very hungry at the end.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By AverageIowaGuy on February 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of the 3 cookbooks that have changed what I eat and the way I cook. Henry Hill has some excellent classic recipes and adds his own little twists to each recipe. Having lived away from major cities myself for some time, I especially could relate to his struggles to find the right ingredients. His mob stories are amusing too.
I read the book cover to cover because it is kind of in a story form. Hill will tell a few stories about a particular place he lived and then give recipes for the food he ate there. I highly recommend this cookbook. It is a must have.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
When the rumors began flying about this book I laughed. What! Now this guy is doing a cookbook! I was intrigued. I received the book today,read it from cover to cover and made garbanzo bean salad and grilled eggplant,hey, pretty damn good! I plan a trip to the grocery store tomorrow for ingredients of fresh herbs a few spices and such to try out more recipes, will surprise the husband....."men love variety".
This book flows naturally, the stories introducing the recipes,the rules,tips and advice all flow very well. It's an easy and entertaining read. Definitely will play around with these recipes for a long time. There are recipes for the beginner to the more serious and experienced house chef.
Henry Hill is a great storyteller,honest and sincere,this quality really shines in this book. Forget the wiseguy and goodfella aspects of Henry Hill for a second, read between the lines and you'll find that he shares a part of himself that is really close to his heart, his love of cooking, the recipes and what it all means to him. I'm sure many can relate. I recommend this cookbook, not as a novelty but as a real collection of authentic Italian recipes,in addition to some old all American favorites. It's impressive.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jones on January 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
When you grow up with an Italian mom who cooks dishes that nobody else has ever heard of you wonder if you are the only person that has tasted such amazing dishes. Well I don't wonder anymore. The recipes are wonderful. I grew up cooking most of the dishes written about in this book and must say Henry's recipes taste just like "mom's" - in fact just a bit better.... I think this book is extremely well written not only for the "advanced" cook but also for the "novice" cook as I bought a copy for my son and he now uses it to prepare dinner for his family. If you want to cook real "Italian" food - this is your book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "rich_strober" on October 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
That means "good eats" in Italian, and that's what you get with this nifty tome! I hope you're not expecting a primer on how to toss a package of Ronzoni into a pot of boiling water - as Mr. Hill might say, "puh-leese"! Lobster Fra Diavolo, Pizza Margherita, Braciole, and Paulie's Striped Bass are some of the highlights, so you know these recipes are no joke. Apron and funny hat are recommended for full enjoyment of the secrets contained within...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "excelmanager" on May 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Wow was I amazed. I'm italian and have never seen a true italian cookbook. Whats contained in here are things strictly only italian families from New York would have. If you have been to olive garden, and 99% of other italian italian restaurants you never had real italian food. Get this book, make some real italian food, and you'll never be able to eat at any italian restaurant unless its in New York area after this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Minniear on December 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I got this for my husband last Christmas and we haven't found anything that wasn't totally delicious. The only problem is, we can't eat Italian in a restaurant anymore! We cook better at home!! With Henry's precise step-by-step directions, and his delightful autobiographical inserts, this is our favorite cookbook.

If you can stomach it, a viewing of "Goodfellas" really makes the cookbook a lot of fun and brings the voice of Henry Hill to life. Sometimes we can feel him running around our kitchen in his drug-induced haze, preparing his Michael's favorite meatballs just like in the movie!
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