Customer Review

334 of 347 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This 'Silver Spoon' is only half full, February 17, 2006
This review is from: The Silver Spoon (Hardcover)
Like almost anyone with a passion for food living in Italy, I've got a copy of Il Cucchino d'Argento on my bookshelf -- it's the Bible of Italian cuisine. Sadly, this first English-language edition of the book won't be achieving the same status among Anglophile lovers of Italian table fare.

It's not the fault of the Italian publishers -- the book is still a one-stop resource for everything from antipasti to ziti, with great illustrations, and all bound very handsomely -- but lazy translators and unambitious editors ruin this English-language edition, which is titled The Silver Spoon.

Just to give a few examples: metric measurements are awkwardly translated (one recipe suggests adding 11.35 ounces of cheese to a dish, another says the cook should add "1 to 4 portions" of salt -- without saying how large the portions should be), vocabulary is inexact (the words "pot," "pan," and "skillet" seem to be used interchangeably, as do "glass" and "cup"), no suggestions are made for meat and vegetable ingredients difficult to find away from Italy's shores, and basic information such as how many people a certain dish will serve and how long it will take to prepare (all of which is in the original) are just left out. There are typographical errors and misspellings galore, several of them comical. But my favorite mistakes include some that just left me scratching my head: one marinade must be "stirred frequently and infrequently for 5 to 12 hours" (the Italian says it must be "stirred regularly but not often for 5 to 6 hours") and there's a cake that upon completion must be "carefully cooled, or not" when in Italian it must be "cooled until warm to the touch."

All this is all a real a shame, because this book really should be a staple of anyone's cookbook library. If you can't figure out Italian well enough to get Il Cucchino d'Argento and you won't be frustrated by the awkward and puzzling texts in this beautiful volume, then go ahead and get it. For anyone else, I'd suggest waiting a year or two until the next edition is released (and is, hopefully, edited more carefully).
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 29, 2009 12:49:08 PM PDT
Scott Taylor says:
I agree with your comments on the translations to American customary units. Even worse, the editors stripped out the original metric quantities entirely, making the book unnecessarily provincial. Since European cooking depends on weighing ingredients, it would have been nice for the editors to leave in the weights in addition to the more imprecise American-style volumetric quantities.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2009 7:29:39 AM PDT
John Misilli says:
Perhaps the translation could have been more careful but as an Italian (from Lazio) living in the US for many years and a home chef wanna-be unfortunately I must live with the terrible English measures and doing the conversions from the Italian/Metric version is a tedious time consuming chore not to mention some of the culinary words and/or names hard to translate. I have a few Italian, Spanish and French cookbooks which I can interpret but find the Silver Spoon English version a lot more expedient. I stumbled here because I have one copy and am about to order another for an Italo-American friend. I am still reeling from an Italian recipe I received from an Internet friend which required "due gattucci di mare" 2 small sea cats to find out she was alluding to Baby-Sharks!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2010 5:28:10 PM PDT
Everyone but the Americans (this includes english speakers) use the metric system. If I want to know what the Metric measurements were, how do I find out?

Posted on Sep 19, 2010 5:18:54 PM PDT
Fillmoe says:
You said it very well. I found the cookbook disappointing and, I believe, donated it to the Salvation Army.

Posted on Oct 5, 2010 10:48:23 PM PDT
Agnes Lee says:
Ha.. the editor probably used google translator to do the job.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2011 11:00:09 AM PST
Grandma says:
Buy an Italian copy. I function pretty well in either and would rather have the measurements simply left in metric - metric liquid measure is on the same measuring cup if you own a Pyrex model and a scale is inexpensive enough these days.

Posted on Apr 4, 2011 9:09:42 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 1, 2011 1:54:05 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 8:15:03 PM PST
Eric, I am traveling, am currently in Firenze, and just bought the new (2011) Il Cucchiaiao d'Argento (spelling?) --the Italian version of The Silver Spoon cookbook--and want to know whether it is okay, and whether you think I should get the old version instead. All this updating stuff makes me nervous. I am wondering whether to return the copy I bought, in favor of an older version. I have today to do any returns. If you possibly can, please advise today! Thank you very much!

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 3:48:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 4, 2012 4:04:48 PM PST
Mama Mary says:
I was considering this purchase and I think it is important to note that this 2006 review is related to The Silver Spoon (Hardcover) published October 1, 2005 and is NOT associated with The Silver Spoon NEW EDITION [Hardcover] published October 24, 2011. Amazon adds the older book reviews to newer versions and I really wish that they would quit this practice. If you are considering ordering this cookbook, look for reviews that are dated in or after October 2011.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 3:54:21 PM PST
Thank you, Mama Mary! I had limited wifi traveling and did not even notice the reviews were for the previous version. I have the new version in Italian. Ask questions if you want and I will try to answer.
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