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The Duke's Table: The Complete Book of Vegetarian Italian Cooking Hardcover – March 26, 2013
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In 1930, a Sicilian nobleman published a book of Italian vegetarian cooking. Although vegetarianism had not attained the status it enjoys today, Alliata recognized that his fellow Sicilians could scarcely afford to eat red meat on a regular basis. The abundance of fruits and vegetables on the Mediterranean island made vegetarianism a logical and viable alternative, and Alliata set out to document this cuisine. Contemporary cooks may be inspired by his pizzas and mozzarella pies, which make for ideal first courses or cocktail nibbles. He exhibits a puckish sense of humor in presenting a dessert—“fried egg surprise”—concocted in a frying pan from apricot halves atop rounds of whipped cream. Recipes have been updated to reflect modern measurements, but Alliata’s instructions still need some interpretation, even by a reasonably adept and experienced cook. A novel system of serially numbering recipes makes cross-referencing a breeze and deserves to set a new model for cookbook organization. --Mark Knoblauch
“Italians are masters of vegetarian cuisine, as this compendium attests. […] The book is impressive in its variety and breadth.” —La Cucina Italiana
"[Alliata] exhibits a puckish sense of humor... A novel system of serially numbering recipes makes cross-referencing a breeze and deserves to set a new model for cookbook organization." —Booklist
"A fascinating and fresh spin on Italian food."—Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
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There is one caveat for this book. If you are not at least somewhat comfortable with cooking, this would not be the book for you. For example, Bocconcini di Sostanza (Tasty Tidbits) has an ingredient list of 3 ingredients (though you'll find at least one more in the directions), but NO measurements. This is very common throughout the book. Some have amounts, some do not. The directions can be as bad. The Milk and Egg Soufflé simply tells you to "pour into a greased mold and steam cook."
Everything I have cooked out of it so far has turned out great, and I love the funny little gems I keep stumbling across. If you're a comfortable to expert cook, you might really enjoy this book. I know I did!
I was sent a copy of this book by Melville House Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is really a sort of outline of his cooking philosophy. It gives you excellent insight in this regard. You could learn a lot from this book. It has something it's trying to teach, but also acts as an inexhaustible recipe book.
This isn't a fancy book with a handful of recipes for a quick inspiration and pretty pictures to excite you. If that's what you want, this is not the book for you. This is an excellent translation of a historical text with a wonderful layout and a very decent index. Keep in mind this book has over 1000 recipes.
The duke who wrote this book had decedent tastes, so don't expect much in the way of "healthful" recipes. He loves his dairy products.
If you're looking for interesting approaches to hearty Italian/Mediterranean dishes for vegetarians, this is an excellent point of reference! I haven't read a book that's anything like it.
It's not perfect, but I'm giving it 5 stars for what it is.