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Breaking Bread in L'Aquila

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0914386438
ISBN-10: 0914386433
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Editorial Reviews


"For the cook with the sophisticated side, and an affinity for family-style Italian meals, Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is the perfect book. Maria Filice divulges an entire week of dinners which include five courses each: Antipasta, Primi Piatti, Secondi Piatti, Contorni, and Dolci. All have explanations of their original place in a family-style Italian dinner and variations that can be used to create smaller meals. Filice has planned the dishes to complement one another; however she makes it abundantly clear that picking and choosing favorites is entirely okay. Wine is an important aspect of any truly Italian dinner, and Filice makes sure to include wine suggestions, all native to Abruzzo, Italy. Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is an organized and nostalgic book, giving Filice the opportunity to share both recipes and family tradition with the world. Check out this book today in the library!! To see the author's signature, come to the library to view it in our special collections!"

--Laura Belluomini, Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts

"Breaking Bread is not just a collection of wonderful recipes. It is an invitation to share in a way of life animated by pleasure and infused with joy. Integral to any Italian meal is an aura embracing the meal and its partakers, a sense that preparing and eating a meal with those we love is a spiritual experience, including not just present participants but those who once gathered around the table. How beautiful it is that the things of earth, water, and sun are transformed into a heavenly repast, a sacramental moment. When we break bread with others, we invite them to share in what might well be called a heavenly repast, or at least a foretaste of the banquet to come. With this love letter to her dear late husband, Maria Filice extends the invitation, in typical Italian style, to everyone." --Thought Catalog

"Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is the perfect Italian cookbook for those lacking a 'nonna' to pass down the mouth-watering, fresh & zingy recipes of L'Aquila, Abruzzo, and Southern Italy. This book's author, and possibly your new best friend, the thoroughly modern NY-based signora Maria Filice, provides an effortlessly readable narrative. Superbly blending simple instruction with extensive background knowledge, the Italian-Canadian author stimulates curiosity and counters ignorance with each dish. The stunning photography entices you to keep turning the pages whilst sipping a glass of one of Abruzzo's very drinkable wines and waiting for the water to boil so you can dunk your pasta for your Primo Piatti. . . . These are tried & tested recipes for those who want to impress with tasty & visually delightful dishes, but who don't want to be tied to a stove and left feeling stretched & exhausted by the cooking process. Instead, you'll be ready to share & enjoy each dish whilst catching up with friends & family like any good Abruzzesi." --Life in Abruzzo

"Filice traveled many times with her late husband, Paul Piccone, to his native central Italy. Her cookbook is full of elegant and rich traditional dishes from the L'Aquila region, arranged as a week of feasts-each day has a menu of four courses, which can each be used as a stand-alone meal, plus a dessert. The recipes showcase the unpretentiousness of the region and use ingredients that can be found in most North American grocery stores. Filice includes notes on her experience with all the recipes, tips on entertaining, a wine guide, pantry stocking suggestions, and a measurement guide. VERDICT Although this wonderful book is not essential for smaller library collections, it will appeal to foodies and cooks looking for effortless Italian cooking."

--Ginny Wolter, Library Journal

"Maria Filice is an ardent fan of the city and traveled many times to L'Aquila, the hometown of her late husband, Paul Piccone. On their numerous travels there, Paul introduced Maria to San Biagio, a small and charming homestyle restaurant, owned by two brothers--Andrea and Luciano Carlofelice--experts in making customers happy with their warm smiles and their fresh, local, and incredibly tasty dishes. Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is inspired in part by those memorable meals, but even more so by a deep love for the joviality and warmth of shared hospitality. But above all, the book is inspired by the enduring love for Paul, the man who transformed Maria's life. Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is, essentially, a delicious love letter."

--Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino

"Breaking Bread in L'Aquila by Maria Filice is an unequivocal joy. Not only does Filice welcome you into her private world with open arms, she makes you feel as if you can cook a multi-course Italian (dishes primarily from the Abruzzo region) dinner every single night of the week. And that's because you can with her masterful, yet simple instruction. . . . If you're looking for a touching story that spans generations, a guide to impressive and relaxed hosting, or a cookbook with authentic Abruzzo recipes, you have a combination of all three in this single volume. We can't recommend it highly enough."

--Thomson Shore: Book of the Month

"Maria Filice's favourite recipe is tried and true: combine excellent food, engaging company and delicious wine. Store the above in a warm, inviting atmosphere, marinate in stimulating conversation and serve. Her upcoming cookbook, Breaking Bread in L'Aquila, is more than a collection of recipes; it's a guide to entertaining and it's a love letter to her late husband's hometown . . . "

--Partners Magazine

" . . . Maria Filice, an ItalianNotebook reader, is now a published author. What's makes Breaking Bread in L'Aquila extra special is its back story. It will be available on Tuesday, April 6th, on the anniversary of the Abruzzo earthquake. She was in L'Aquila (her late husband's birthplace) in the aftermath of the earthquake when a woman begged her not to forget about the people of the city. She says it deepened her resolve to complete her book, as a reminder to readers of the Abruzzo region's suffering. Net profits on the sale of the book will be donated to l'Aquila. Maria, our highest praise to you. . . . take a bow."


"Toronto native and first-time author Maria Filice delivers a heartfelt homage to the flavors of Italy's Abruzzo region with Breaking Bread in L'Aquila. Filice demonstrates how, with creative plating, a simple recipe can look beautiful and taste delicious. The author's warmth, humor, and savvy carry readers on a personal journey to one of the most beautiful areas of Italy's countryside. The book's April release commemorates the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that struck L'Aquila (the birthplace of Filice's late husband, Paul Piccone), and profits from the book's sale will be donated to the city."

--The Upper North Side

"When Maria Filice conceived this cookbook remarkable for its beautiful practicality she had love, simplicity and knowledge in mind. Love for the people living in the L'Aquila Region of Abruzzo, love for her late husband, Paul Piccone, who introduced her to their homey gastronomy, love for her guests past, present and future and love for ample, complete and delicious food. Simplicity in a book eminently utilitarian for all cooks and chefs, be they absolute beginners trying to please their loved ones or veteran chefs in search of inspiration back to the basics. Knowledge to be acquired about traditional ingredients, new taste combinations and forgotten wines for perfect pairing with her recipes. This cookbook ought to be left open at all times on the kitchen table of all Italian food lovers, and all food lovers for that matter."

--Robert-Gilles Martineau, Shizuoka Gourmet

About the Author

Maria Filice, a first-time author and food stylist, is a first-generation Canadian-American Italian. Born and raised by immigrant parents from Calabria, Maria grew up following her family's old country, old-school values. She learned from the best--her mother, grandmother, and aunts--whom she watched from the time she could barely walk. While she observed her relatives mixing together a little of this and a little of that, she listened well. As in many Italian homes, the kitchen served as both the confessional and the center for storytelling. This had a lasting impact on Maria. Today, her relatives and friends are delighted as she entertains them in her kitchen, both with her storytelling and her cooking prowess. They're consistently amazed at how relaxed she is while preparing dishes, often created from a few simple ingredients from the pantry, and how comfortable she still is with the language of her ancestors.

When Maria married Telos publisher Paul Piccone in 1997, she moved from Toronto to New York. Almost immediately after her marriage, her apartment became the Grand Central Station of philosophical debate. It was then that she dove into her kitchen and honed her natural skills as home cook extraordinaire. Maria's flair for entertaining was her way of welcoming the diverse and eclectic circle of intellectuals into her home. When Paul died in 2004, she took over as publisher for Telos Press, even though she had no previous literary experience. Known in those circles as Mary Piccone, she continues in this role today.

In both her kitchen and her professional life, Maria's philosophy is to live life to its fullest. She recognizes that neither her lack of experience in publishing nor in formally trained cooking could diminish her passion or dissuade her from taking risks. In truth, her fresh eye has allowed her to excel. Now, in her first cookbook, her natural flair for food styling reflects her personal style and demonstrates how, with creative plating, a simple recipe will look beautiful. Maria's warmth, humor, and gregarious personality always make people feel welcome, relaxed, and motivated to discover their own style in the kitchen.

Today, Maria Filice resides in upstate New York, as publisher of Telos Press, as well as publisher, author, and food stylist for Food and Fate Publishing. This is her first book, but she promises to share many more with us, both as an author and a food stylist, in her Breaking Bread book series.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Food and Fate Publishing (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0914386433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0914386438
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,952,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Maria Filice's Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is a product of love -- love for her late husband Paul Piccone, of his native city L'Aquila in Abruzzo (yes, the same one that was devastated by an earthquake last year), of her own Calabrian heritage (Marie's parents were born in Cosenza), and of delicious, simply prepared Italian food.

Marie graciously shares this amore with us, and indeed, is donating net proceeds of the book to the continuing relief efforts in Abruzzo.

The layout of this hardcover book is gorgeous with the recipes on the left side and full-color photos on the right -- for each and every recipe. And the organization is unique as well: recipes are divided into menus that include antipasti (appetizers), primi piatti (usually pasta), secondi piatti (meat), contorni (vegetables), and dolci (desserts) for each day of the week; if you have a special dinner coming up, you can just open up Maria's book and have a menu all set. Perfetto!

Many of Maria's 50 or so recipes are classics like aglio olio peperoncino and bruschetta, but there are also some that were new to both my Calabrian husband and me. On my first run through, I made a note of at least five different recipes to try immediately with things we already had in the house.

In case you don't realize, that's pretty darn impressive for a southern Italian cookbook in a southern Italian house.

Speaking of items we had on hand, Maria also includes the "Pantry Page" with a checklist of things you should always keep handy. That stocked pantry is one of the most important parts of true Italian cooking, i.e., deciding what's for dinner based on what you have on hand, and even better, having it on the table within about an hour.
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Format: Hardcover
Author Maria Filice is an ardent fan of the city of L'Aquila, and traveled there many times. L'Aquila was the hometown of her late husband, Paul Piccone, and in April of 2009, brutally devastated by a horrible earthquake.
Filice was prompted to write her book when she visited L'Aquila a few months after her husband Paul passed away. As the book shaped itself, her visits intensified and in the aftermath of the April 2009 earthquake, Maria decided to donate the net proceeds of her book to the earthquake restoration efforts of L'Aquila.

The book's recipes are inspired by those dishes sampled over the years in L'Aquila, and they include the author's and her late husband's favorite appetizers, main courses, side dishes, desserts and regional wines.
Simple, well described, colorful, and easy to make, Breaking Bread in L'Aquila's Abruzzo-inspired meals are well photographed and genuinely "Italian." The 49+ recipes-organized according to the days of the week-are made with ingredients available in anyone's local market, and peppered with charming storytelling and tasty tips.

In her practical and entertaining cookbook, Filice guides her readers on a personal journey within the heart one of the most beautiful areas of Italy's countryside.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an Italian cookbook for those who like simplicity; beautifully illustrated with some mouth-watering images, Maria Filice's book provides an excellent introduction to the Italian cuisine of Southern Italy, a blend of well-known regional recipes and those a little off the beaten track. I also love the way that it includes a guide to the ever-drinkable Abruzzo wines, as well as tips on stocking your pantry in a way that any good Nonna would be proud of!

Not an encyclopedic "Silver Spoon" approach this one, more a beautiful sampler designed to draw attention to the regions in question and their cuisine (and doubly worth collecting as profits will be sent to help in L'Aquila's restoration after its earthquake in 2009!)
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Format: Hardcover
Looking for a book that will inspire your own culinary creativity, love of good, well-made food and Italy? Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is the book for you! The author, Maria Filice, an independent woman publisher, radio personality and chef offers inspiration and insight that will change your ideas about food for the better and you will enjoy every minute. This is not a book for someone without ideas in the kitchen, or a person who needs piles and piles of recipes because he or she doesn't know what is good and how to imagine a cooking adventure. This beautifully photographed book makes you feel like you can be in Italy eat and drink tradition whether or not you're Italian and wherever you may live. This book has simple ingredients you can get in Buffalo NY or Mill Valley, CA or Atlanta, GA or anywhere, and it will inspire you to start thinking about food and building your own beautiful feasts! I've tried all the recipes and started to make my own modification--especially because I have such a picky family that includes several vegetarians, several lactose intolerant and gluten-adverse eaters. The great news is everyone is happy!
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Format: Hardcover
This cookbook is fantastic. I received it as a gift from my Mum and I have to say, I've returned to it more times than I can count. I don't understand the reviews saying there were too many pictures... as somewhat of a novice cook, I thought the pictures helped tremendously, not only with giving me an idea for what sort of recipe it would be at a glance (ie. family style versus a main course, etc.) but also giving me ideas on plating and presentation. And, most importantly, the recipes weren't ridiculously complicated, with the focus being on flavor and adaptability. I liked the idea that the book could teach me how to cook like my mum does - a few ingredients on hand, a little imagination, and a delicious, comforting meal. Plus, the different recipes have taught me about some flavor groupings, and I've been able to experiment a little (which the book encourages, and gives tips for!). A great gift for anyone, including yourself :)
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