If you are like me, you are drawn to Italy for many reasons. The food, the history, the scenery, the language and the lifestyle are the highlights for me. Lately, I have been on a bit of a hunt to read every account of Americans in Italy that I can get my hands on. But, most of them are more like fairy tales than real life. Not everyone who falls in love with Italy can afford to or wants to move there, have an affair with a devastatingly attractive Italian and renovate an old farm house. But that seems to be what most of these books are about.
Beyond the Pasta is not that book. Instead, it is the combination of the most authentic Italian recipes you are likely to find with one of the sweetest, most relatable accounts of an American's time in Italy. Mark Leslie writes in a style which makes you feel like if you had lived this experience, you could have written it. When he shares his thoughts and reactions, you immediately think, "that sounds just like something I would do." Because of this form of storytelling, by the end of the book, your emotions are almost as invested as Mark's. About half way through the book, I started forcing myself to slow down because I wanted it to last longer. (Kind of like a good meal.) Anyone interested in Italy, food, or even how people from different cultures can grow together will love this book.