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The Silver Spoon Hardcover – October 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 232 customer reviews

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My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration by Yvonne Maffei
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

First published in 1950 and revised over time, Italy's bestselling culinary "bible," Il Cucchiaio d'argento, is now available in English. The Silver Spoon boasts over 2,000 recipes and arrives in a handsome (and weighty) photo-illustrated edition complete with two ribbon markers. Its chapters make every menu stop from sauces and antipasti through cheese dishes and sweets, with many standout dishes like Genoese Pesto Minestrone, Eggplant and Ricotta Lasagna, Pork Shoulder with Prunes, and Chocolate and Pear Tart; the book also includes a number of "eccentricities," like sections on patty shells and bean sprouts, surely not an Italian dining staple. Meant to be inclusive, the book also offers a wide range of non-Italian, mostly French formulas, supplemented by a few "exotic" and other non-traditional entries.

Though the recipe range is vast, it must be said that American readers, anxious to cook this authentic fare, will encounter problems. Translating a cookbook from one language to another requires cultural recasting as well as word substitution, and in this the book's editors have been lax. The problems include non-idiomatic usages, for example, calling for "pans" when "pots" is needed; awkward conversions from the metric system, resulting in requirements like eleven ounces of zite; and the inclusion of ingredients like cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage), tope (a Mediterranean fish), and pancetta copatta (ham-stuffed pancetta) that are unavailable here and for which no alternatives are suggested. In addition, the recipes themselves are often insufficiently specific or detailed--even seasoned bakers will pause before cake recipes that don't specify pan size--and can also lack yields. Space considerations have also meant printing recipes in single, one-column paragraphs, which can make place-finding while cooking difficult, and there are typos and other goofs (one recipe for four specifies six cups of sliced scallions; another requires that a marinade be "stirred frequently for five to twelve hours").

All this said, many cooks--casual and serious alike--as well as cookbook collectors, will want The Silver Spoon. It's an essential document of the Italian table and as such a classic. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a complete cookbook library without the book--a welcome evocation of a much-beloved repertoire by those who know it best. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Featuring over 2,000 recipes among its 1,200-plus pages, it's easy to see why this Italian version of The Joy of Cooking, billed as "the bible of authentic Italian cooking," is a popular wedding gift. Newly updated and translated into English for the first time, the book contains recipes for everything from basic sauces and marinades to salads, game, fish and baked goods, with each section color-coded for easy browsing. Recipes emphasize fresh ingredients and are to-the-point, typically summed up in a paragraph sans photo illustrations. Those who know their way around a kitchen will appreciate the brevity, but a novice might encounter some frustration when making pasta dishes featuring homemade gnocchi or orecchiette without a more in-depth description or the aid of photos. Almost all of the ingredients called for can be found in a typical supermarket, though more exotic dishes such as Eel with Savoy Cabbage, Woodcock with Truffle, or Calf's Head Salad will require some planning. Globe-trotting gourmands will appreciate the menu and "signature dish" contributions by famous Italian chefs that round out the book. The most exhaustive Italian cookbook in recent memory, this volume offers something for every cook, regardless of their skill level, and deserves to be a fixture in American kitchens.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1264 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; US edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714845310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714845319
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 2.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric J. Lyman on February 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Like almost anyone with a passion for food living in Italy, I've got a copy of Il Cucchino d'Argento on my bookshelf -- it's the Bible of Italian cuisine. Sadly, this first English-language edition of the book won't be achieving the same status among Anglophile lovers of Italian table fare.

It's not the fault of the Italian publishers -- the book is still a one-stop resource for everything from antipasti to ziti, with great illustrations, and all bound very handsomely -- but lazy translators and unambitious editors ruin this English-language edition, which is titled The Silver Spoon.

Just to give a few examples: metric measurements are awkwardly translated (one recipe suggests adding 11.35 ounces of cheese to a dish, another says the cook should add "1 to 4 portions" of salt -- without saying how large the portions should be), vocabulary is inexact (the words "pot," "pan," and "skillet" seem to be used interchangeably, as do "glass" and "cup"), no suggestions are made for meat and vegetable ingredients difficult to find away from Italy's shores, and basic information such as how many people a certain dish will serve and how long it will take to prepare (all of which is in the original) are just left out. There are typographical errors and misspellings galore, several of them comical. But my favorite mistakes include some that just left me scratching my head: one marinade must be "stirred frequently and infrequently for 5 to 12 hours" (the Italian says it must be "stirred regularly but not often for 5 to 6 hours") and there's a cake that upon completion must be "carefully cooled, or not" when in Italian it must be "cooled until warm to the touch."

All this is all a real a shame, because this book really should be a staple of anyone's cookbook library.
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Format: Hardcover
_The Silver Spoon_ was originally published in Italy in 1950 by the Italian architectural and design magazine _Domus_. (Italian Title "Il Cucchiaio d'argento." The eighth edition came out in 1997.)The publishers at Phaidon, the British publishing house, have done a remarkable job of translating and designing _The Silver Spoon for American and British cooks. The cookbook combines both traditional Italian recipes, and more contemporary Italian recipes influenced by other cuisines. If I had to make a comparison, I would say that it's much like a Italian version of "The Joy of Cooking," though not nearly as comprehensive.

I have three or four "classical" Italian cookbooks, and many of the recipes in those books are repeated here. I think that I'll hang on to them - but more for the extra information relating to Italian cuisine (which this book lacks) than for the recipes.

The food:

_The Silver Spoon_ is divided into 14 chapters (with a preface):

Eating is a Serious Matter (preface)

Cooking Terms - This chapter is a comprehensive glossary of all of the cooking terms used in the book. It covers terms for ingredients, cookware, and cooking techniques. I especially liked how the authors delineated exactly what they mean for specific terms related to technique; for example, "Brown in a Pan: To cook vegetables over low heat in butter or oil until they go a light golden color. This is particularly common with thinly slice donion or garlic cloves. Meat or vegetables may also be cooked in oil or butter ina skillet over high heat until a rich, even brown in color during the first or final stage of cooking." Equally detailed descriptions are given for everything from "Aceto Balsamico" to "Whisk/Beat".
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Format: Hardcover
`The Silver Spoon', the very first translation of an Italian cookbook in its eighth edition, published since 1950. This 2005 translation is based on the 1997 Italian edition published by Editoriale Domus. While there are credits for drawings, photography, and provisions of props, there is no credit for either author or editor in clear sight.

The blurbs on the book's cover tout the volume as `the bible of authentic Italian cooking'. I believe this can mislead some buyers in thinking that the book is devoted exclusively to Italian techniques or that the book has the very best and most definitive demonstrations of Italian cooking techniques. It would be much more accurate to compare this to either `The Joy of Cooking' or `James Beard's American Cookery' in that its emphasis is more on completeness rather than depth or excellence in pedagogical presentation. At 2000 recipes, this volume easily trumps some recent big Italian cookbooks, such as Michele Scicolone's `1000 Italian Recipes' or Mario Batali's `Molto Italiano'. If broad range is what you want, this is exactly the book for you.

What it does not have is any but the slimmest anecdotal information on regionality of dishes or exceptionally well explained techniques for such mysteries as fresh pasta making, bread baking, sausage making, or homemade mozzarella. You may also be surprised to find a large selection of terms and recipes from French, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Russian, and Japanese cuisines. This is all in keeping with a book devoted to be a reference for Italian home cooking. Italian bourgeois amateur cooks, it seems, are just as likely to use the French name for many dishes such as souffle or crepe as the Italian name.
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