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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Clean pages and cover, some smudges along edges, fold on lower corner of front cover, "final sale' stamp on inside front cover and small stain on lower edge of first 3 pages
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The Food of Italy Paperback – June 2, 1992

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Food of Italy is the book to get if you're traveling there. You know about the Coliseum, you've heard about the canals of Venice, but what should you order? Waverly Root supplies the answers in this travelogue focusing on the foods of various regions in Italy. Root, who made his living as a foreign correspondent and has written several volumes on his penchant for food, is an excellent guide whose descriptions will convince globetrotters that there's much more to travel than sightseeing. Along with The Food of France, this book won the 1990 James Beard Cookbook Award.

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A pleasant study for the traveler and gastronome to peruse leisurely. -- Library Journal, Michael Rogers
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 2, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679738967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679738961
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Root's The Food of France is a highly entertaining classic. The Food of Italy is slightly less so.
As with The Food of France, Root gives us here a survey of the food of an entire country. The country here is, of course, Italy. The book details the varieties and specialities of each region in Italy, which each make up a chapter in the book.
As with The Food of France, Root examines not only the specialities and food of a particular region, he discusses also what it is in terms of taste, ingredients and cooking methods that makes a particular dish distinctly of that region. Beyond that, he also examines the history, geography and native food resources of a region in considering what it is that has gone into making the food of that region distinctly so. He studs each examination with charming details and anecdotes. And he does this all with methodical meticulousness.
In each chapter, Root will start with examining the history, geography and available food resources of the region. Each chapter is divided roughly into the various major cities and districts that comprise the particular region being discussed. The food of each city and district is then discussed, starting with the savoury dishes and ending the sweet. Each chapter finishes off with a discussion of the wine and alcoholic beverages of that region.
Mostly, he tells it with inimitable style. However, unlike The Food of France, there were times with The Food of Italy when I felt it a bit of a slog to read. Quite literally from time to time I just felt like I was wading through a listing of descriptions of different types of food.
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This book is sold as a companion volume to Root's The Food of France, though the two are of quite different character. Whereas the French volume shows a deep and intimate familiarity with a beloved cuisine that has largely weathered the cultural purges in France since WW2, the Italian volume shows the author as a traveler in a country in which he felt less at home, where he was cataloguing a highly diverse culinary landscape more or less dish by dish. The resulting compendium feels a bit compulsory, as though Root were eating his way through a checklist, the breadth and depth of which were not apparent before he'd spent his advance. Several times his nicely-written narrative verges on tedium, as when he catalogues the minor wines of Umbria or enumerates the differences between the sausages of Modena and those of Bologna. Missing is the rapture and warmth of the French volume.

But one must not disparage the content of this less-than-ecstatic reportage: there is more on Italian food recorded here than in any other book I've been able to find in English. He sytematically hits the culinary high points of the entire country, region by region. Unfortunately, much of what he recorded is now lost, or at least homogenized into one national cuisine. Travelers to Italy will be forgiven for assuming that pizza is as much Florentine as it is Neopolitan now that Florence boasts maybe 50 good pizzerie. The highly local traditions Root recorded have largely disappeared. So consider this book to be a touching record of a lost gustatory landscape and of the heroic, not always inspired, travels of a lonely American far from his home in France.
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Food is more than what science can make of it. It includes culture. (That only follows when we realize that food is our connection with both agri-culture and how we cultivate our relations with one another among other things.) Waverly Root has a natural gift for writing "poetically" which enables the reader to begin imagining the regional environments of Italy that he describes. I have never been to Italy. However I am gaining lively images of Italy by way Root's descriptions of Italy's regional foods. One of the things that I most appreciate is that Root gives us his direct observations as well as his direct experience of the foods themselves as they are presented in each of the regions. This is far superior to any academic descriptions of a "Mediterranean Diet"! How refreshing!
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This is a brilliant and detailed description of not just the cuisine of Italy, but also the geography and history of this beautiful country. This was recommended to me as I planned an Italian getaway, and I learned about more than just food. Excellent guide that goes beyond what the usual travel guides and history books contain. I do not consider myself a foodie or food expert- I'm just a curious traveler who happens to enjoy a good meal and glass of wine, so this was an eye opening read for me.
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Format: Paperback
Imagine eating delicious meals in every region of Italy, at someone else's expense, for years on end. That's pretty much what Waverly Root did in his long career as a journalist. And the result is a classic work about Italian food.
There are maps showing the food specialties of every Italian region and the best cities to visit for great eating. Each city is rated on a map, so you can easily create your own travel itinerary.
And there's a long chapter for each region, describing it special food and wine. Just the thing to feed daydreams.
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