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The Oxford Companion to Italian Food (Oxford Companions) Paperback – April 1, 2009
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"Italian Food shouldn't remain on the shelf; instead, it should be savored."--Chicago Tribune
"Exhaustive."--Saveur Top Ten Reads
"Italian food buffs on your list may welcome a mini-encyclopedia that turns out to be almost an anti-encyclopedia: Gillian Riley's determinedly personal, quirky, wide-ranging The Oxford Companion to Italian Food".--Anne Mendelson, The New York Times
"Food historian and gastronome Gillian Riley's witty, expansive compendium deftly deconstructs everything from antipasto ("benign titillation of the palate with only a few delicacies") to zeppole ("overkill can be achieved with a filling of custard")."--Bon Appetit
"A magisterial (recipe-less) book that anyone even mildly interested in the subject must own....encourages you to read entry after entry for the pleasure of learning marvelous oddments about the obscure and the familiar."--The Atlantic
"[Riley is] a good, spunky writer who really knows what she's talking about...a master of the pithy observation."--Russ Parsons, The LA Times Blog
"Erudite, witty, and stuffed with gems"--The Telegraph
"She writes in [a] characteristically colloquial but never too casual tone, a lovely, rare style...laden...with humor, sly political commentary, and a general sense of the author's total immersion in and great passion for Italian cuisine and its connection to all other aspects of Italy."--Bookforum
"A scholarly yet entertaining volume. Recommended for all culinary reference collections, but those who love Italy or Italian food will enjoy reading it for pleasure."--Booklist
"A grand buffet of curious delights. Riley writes to entertain as well as to inform, and never holds back when there is a choice anecdote to relate....essential browsing for the serious Italo-foodlie."--John Dickie, The Guardian
"Authoritative, erudite, and unexpectedly entertaining."--The Independent
"For anyone who takes these styles of cooking seriously, these books are essential....First is Gillian Riley's The Oxford Companion to Italian Food, a fascinating encyclopedia of the Italian food world. Though it contains no recipes, it is a wonderful resource for understanding Italian recipes and how to cook them."--Associated Press
"WORTH READING: [This] new book will do more than spruce up your coffee table...The Oxford Companion to Italian Food reads like a literary dictionary, with entries covering all aspects of Italian cuisine paired with striking illustrations."--La Cucina Italiana
"Gillian Riley has assembled between the covers of this volume more useful information about the foods of Italy than is available in any other form, or in any other language, Italian included. Anyone with more than a passing interest in this seminal cuisine should be grateful to her, as I am."--Marcella Hazan
"Erudite, engaging, and captivating: an indispensable guide for Italophiles, food lovers, and the greedily curious."--Nigella Lawson
"A great tribute to a rich and complex culinary culture: the Italian. It contains all the essential information and more, from the earth to the table, within a historical, artisanal and cultural context. This is a must-have reference book for any serious lover of Italian food."--Lidia Bastianich
Top Customer Reviews
* But lots of stuff like him has found its way into the main body of the work, making the - inadequate - index largely into a pale simulacrum of the whole. Then, to take a couple of examples, under Digestivi eight terms are highlighted (including the title itself!) but if one refers to them one is disappointingly referred back to the original article (except for anti-colerici, which is not cross-indexed, though Sambuca, not highlighted, is).Read more ›
One gets the impression that the author loves Italy and travels there on vacation, but doesn't know any Italians. There is no information about current chefs in Italy, there is nothing about 20th (or 21st) century food trends, etc. The entry on cookbooks only lists Italian cookbooks written by English speaking authors. Where is the information about Italian cookbooks written by Italian speaking authors? My guess is that the author gets all her information from the British Library in London.
The style is similar to Davidson's "Oxford Companion to Food", but that is a much more fascinating book because it covers such a broad spectrum. I wish the current author would have teamed up with an Italian who knows ingredients and what has happened in Italy during the last 50 years. That would have created a very interesting book. The current book can not be recommended to people who just like Italian food, but if you are crazy about Italian food, please check it out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the alphabetical index leaves much to be desire. what there is is of excellent qualityPublished on November 30, 2008 by Thomas D. Garille
This is great. My only issue is that the soft cover over the hard cover arrived slightly damaged from the poor shipping box it comes in.Published on September 19, 2008 by caught_along