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Cucina Di Calabria: Treasured Recipes and Family Traditions from Southern Italy (Cookbooks) Paperback – March 1, 2004
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For centuries, one of Italy's best-kept culinary secrets has been the cooking of Calabria, that region occupying the toe of the Italian boot. But in Cucina di Calabria, Mary Amabile Palmer boldly breaks the silence and introduces an exciting new cuisine to the world. Located just across the Mediterranean from North Africa--not far from Greece and Asia Minor--Calabria has long been the target of invasion and occupation; whatever the political fallout of such incursions, Calabrian cooking is all the richer for the introduction of foreign cuisine and ingredients (olives from the Greeks; eggplants and pine nuts from the Arabs)--that contribute a succulent and daring mélange of taste and texture.
In addition to the recipes themselves, Mary Amabile Palmer, a first- generation Italian American, includes anecdotes about Calabrian culture, history, traditions, and festivals, as well as recollections from her childhood. These delightful snippets provide context to the more than 200 Calabrian dishes detailed in Cucina di Calabria, making the book as much fun to read as it is to cook from. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"[This volume] delivers fully on its promise of an authentic Southern Italian culinary experience." --Publishers Weekly
"Clabria's cuisine has until now remained in the shadows of Italian cooking, but thanks to Mary Amabile Parker's compilation of recipes that she knows and loves and her infectious enthusiasm for her Calabrian heritage, we can all sample Calabrian fare as it is meant to be." --Mary Ann Esposito, host of "Ciao Italia" on PBS and author of Ciao Italia
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Top Customer Reviews
Not so with "Cucina di Calabria."
I was very happy that the author took the time to authenticate American Italian recipes (which, unfortunately but not surprisingly, have been completely Americanized in many cases) and that she tasted and tested the recipes she got from the always gracious people of Calabria. Her efforts paid off in the final product and I'm proud that, finally, a cookbook of the wonderful cuisine that is Calabria's is available to the cooking public in the English language.
While Palmer did an outstanding job with this book, it's important to know that there is no such thing as *the* definitive Italian cookbook. Many people (sadly, American Italians most of all) don't realize that Italy has never been a truly united country since Roman times (and even then it was splintered). The North has a heavy French, Slavic, and German influence (among others) that's prevalent in their cooking (polenta, butter, cream, lard, and the like are staples of Northern Italian cooking) while the South has a heavy Greek, Albanian, and Middle Eastern influence in their cooking style (olive oil, peppers, spaghetti, pizza, etc.). Despite all that, though, the author did one hell of a job in compiling a cookbook that, as it stands now, is the bible for Calabrese cooking.
It also helps to take the time to read the detailed history of Calabria she included in the beginning of the book. I'm grateful for the fact that she didn't overlook the Greek and Albanian influences that are prevalent in Calabria to this day and also included the fact that there is a strong Middle Eastern influence in Calabrian food. And I'm glad someone had the nerve to call it like it is with the prejudice that Northern Italians have against their own people in Southern Italy. Not a lot of people would admit to that but it's very true.
I couldn't have said it any better when Palmer said that Calabrian cuisine took the best of the people who invaded the land over the centuries and made it their own. (And an enthusiastic thumbs up for including two recipes she got from one of my ancestors' towns - Luzzi, in the province of Cosenza!).
I highly recommend this book for its authenticity and downright delicious and easy to prepare food that will result.
My three year old daughter loves the mushroom salad. She tried it of her own volition! Simple antipasti to hearty meals, this book is the book I turn to when I want something familiar and easy to make.