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Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking Hardcover – September 13, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The "Pasta and Grains" chapter (is) a well-edited introduction to Italian food for those still stuck in a jarred pasta sauce era. --Jenn Garbee in LA Weekly

"The recipes in the book are handed down from harder times when money was dear and nothing went to waste. The author writes that a Tuscan proverb sums up the message behind the book, which translates to `we were better off when things were worse.' "I think that pretty much describes the situation we are facing now. But if being strapped tastes this good, I'm not going to mind." --Kate Lawson, The Detroit News

About the Author

 Pamela Sheldon Johns is a well-known cooking instructor and the host of culinary workshops throughout Italy. She has authored 14 cookbooks, many specializing in Italian food, such as Parmigiano! and Balsamico! Pamela has spent 20 years exploring and writing about the back roads of Italian food culture. She hosts many of her food and wine workshops from her farm in Tuscany, which was recently featured as one of the top 20 culinary workshops in Italy by Food & Wine magazine. She returns to the U.S. several times a year to teach cooking classes and promote her cookbooks.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; 1St Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449402380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449402389
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bundt Lust VINE VOICE on December 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I recently spent three weeks in Northern Italy, including Tuscany (Siena, Volterra, Pisa, and Florence). Along the way, I had the opportunity to sample regional Tuscan specialties at numerous osterias, including several Slow Food restaurants. Upon returning home, I was looking for a cookbook that would capture the magical essence of the Tuscan landscapes, honeyed sunsets, and simple but soulful cooking that I'd enjoyed. When I heard about "Cucina Povera," I contacted the author, who was kind enough to write back almost immediately and send a review copy via her publicist.

Pamela Sheldon Johns gives culinary workshops in several regions of Italy, and is the owner of an agriturismo in Montepulciano that has a 1,250-tree olive farm. A regular visitor to Italy for nearly three decades, she has written sixteen cookbooks, many with distinctly Italian themes (Gelato!: Italian Ice Creams, Sorbetti, and Granite, The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Risotto, Prosciutto, Pancetta, Salame, etc.). Her latest work "Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking" focuses on peasant dishes borne of necessity and hardship that are now served in restaurants around the world.

Hit particularly hard during and after WWII, many Tuscan families lived on the brink of starvation, forced to forage and hunt. Leftovers were scrupulously reused, particularly unsalted bread.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book and it's concept...that is why I bought this book!!!
Stories surrounding the recipes warmed my heart...and reminded me of my Italian grandmother.
The recipes are inspiring. Wonderful food made with simple ingredients. These dishes were meant to be shared.
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Format: Hardcover
Italian regional cookbooks appear on bookshelves like mushrooms in the fall. There are many good ones but //Cucina Povera// is simply awesome. This hard-covered volume is medium sized and its production spared no expenses--it is beautiful. Illustrations match the peasant theme with many photos showing village folks in their homes and surroundings, landscapes and, of course, food. Most photos are full color but some are black and white--they are all artistic and wonderful. Each chapter is preceded by a full-page black and white photo and its own table of contents--very convenient.||The first 41 pages include stories and memories of the villagers and accompanying photos. Recipes are excellent and range from very simple (sliced cured meat arranged on a board) to fairly complex but few cooks would have problem following any. Each recipe is illustrated, and head notes are informative and appropriate to the recipe. The layout was designed with cook's convenience in mind--rarely do you need to flip pages to work on a recipe. Ingredients in the 60+ recipes are mostly easily available anywhere and when uncommon, the author gives alternatives. The subject index, both in English and Italian, is excellent, well cross referenced.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book that is more than a cook book. This is a book you, (and your guests), will thumb through just for the beauty of it. The amazing photographs give one a glimpse of Tuscan and mouthwatering views of the food. The recipes are ones that I found easy to make. The Ricotta Cake is super easy and amazing to serve to guest with coffee. The Acquacotta is now a simple but favorite soup in our home. We also love Uova ai Piselli alla Marelia, (Marelia's Peas and Eggs). This lovely "cookbook" is perfect for gift giving and is one you will want in your home as well.
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My parents were children of peasant immigrant Italians and we were raised eating simple, delicious food. My mother, her sisters, my Nonny on my father's side wasted nothing and all were genious at cooking three meals a day from scratch, including a wonderful simple dinner and a home cooked desert or fruit to follow dinner. Lots of nights there would be no meat or fish. Desert was often sliced pears, grapes or oranges. That being said, I feel that I know peasant cooking well.

I still use my mother's recipes but I also have enjoyed cooking from many Italian cookbooks over the years. My favorite Italian cookbook is "Recipes from an Italian Farmhouse" by Valentina Harris. Simple recipes yet interesting in their diversity.

When I read all the five start reviews for Cucina Povera by Pamela Sheldon Johns I was intrigued and ordered the book through Amazon. Once it arrived I was disappointed. The introduction was so long and overblown that I lost interest quickly. The recipes are nothing exciting...pretty basic run of the mill stuff. The obligatory tripe recipe, of course the hare stews and of course the crostini....and so forth. Pamela Johns is not Italian but was raised in the Midwest. She says she travelled through Italy etc. but I still find the book lacking.

If you have no other Italian cookbooks this would be okay to get you going. For the experienced cook or those of peasant Italian heritage I would recommend you save your $$$.
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