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Italian Food [Hardcover]

Elizabeth David
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 65.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 18 1996
When ITALIAN FOOD was first published, the sort of ingredients that Elizabeth David was writing about were almost unobtainable in England and many of the dishes unknown. Since them, the English have undergone a revolution in their eating habits. This book conveys the richness, colour and variety of the Italian cooking tradition.

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From Library Journal

France and Italy are especially famous for wine and food. David studies and analyzes cooking the way a scholar analyzes literature, and, as a result, her titles are far more than just cookbooks. Along with the recipes, of which there are many, she explains at length the histories of the dishes and offers splendid advice on serving wine with the meals. Both volumes, published in 1960 and 1958, respectively, contain forewords by Julia Child. Italian Food was the author's personal favorite.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Elizabeth David (1913–1992) published eight books during her lifetime, from the evocative Book of Mediterranean Food in ration-bound 1950 to the masterly English Bread and Yeast Cookery in 1977. Her books are acclaimed not only for their recipes but also for their literary depth. French Provincial Cooking and Italian Food were reissued as Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics in 1999.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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SWEET BASIL (Lat. ocymum basilium. It. basilico). Why is this lovely aromatic herb now so rare in England? Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must July 3 2000
While this book on it's own does not complete a cooks library of Italian Cuisine, on the other hand, it does contain the proper approach to the myteries, simpicities and charm of Italian food, all on it's own. The descriptions are very thourough due to it's 1950's audience who may have never heard of Risotto, Gorgonzola, Prosciutto, Gelato, or even olive oil for that matter! However, she writes so comfortably and calm that you can almost picture her leaning against the stovetop. Her book is better than probably 90% of what is out today. Since the cuisine hasn't changed (much), this book is even more useful today than the 1950's, because, now we can taste the ingredients she writes so lovingly about. I often find myself looking up something and end up wandering through other musings she weaves. The artwork is great too, I especially love the painting of The Pasta Eater.
ITALIAN FOOD by Elizabeth David, combined with the works of Waverly Root, Carlo Middione, and Anna Tasca Lanza should be enough to grant anyone Italian citizenship (or at least drooling for it).
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I've been carrying around my 1969 Penguin editon of Elizabeth David's book for over 30 years. It's now a wreck - it's been used so much! It is absolutely the best book I have read (and used constantly) that describes the art of cooking Italian food. Great descriptions of Italian (including regional) ingredients and really easy to follow practical menus. I was so delighted to learn that a new edition of this marvelous book (first published in 1954!) was available.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a culinary classic March 27 1999
By A Customer
This is a new edition of Elizabeth David's 1958 classic. I'm so glad to see it back in print. David's somewhat prolix recipes range in tone from pedantic to stern to confiding--but always interesting and educational. The recipes are heavy for today's cuisine, but they're delicious. I especially rely on her risotto instructions. My favorite recipe is the Cuttlefish Stew.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A GEM July 20 2000
I bought this book shortly after purchasing her French cooking book. This book, in combination with the above mentioned French book and her Summer Cooking, are THE Elizabeth David books. No one who is serious about fine cuisine should be without these classics. The food is simple and stunning.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is literature Jan. 15 2001
I am not really sure about the audience and the purpose of the book... not true... I have got some suspicions and they don't go down that well with me...
The original edition (it was re-worked a little in the mid-eighties) was written for a British audience still suffering from food rationing (which continued until about 1954, the British won the war and lost the peace, and even unto this day any football game against Germany is billed as a re-enactment of World War 2) and from the lack of a national cuisine (no, baked beans is not the national British dish, just a watered-down version of Boston beans, and those are quite nice when properly done).
As one would expect, the book is addressed to those who know what they are doing in their kitchen and have all the time in the world ("roast the chicken in the usual way", all the vagaries found in Apicius, take such-and-such, it must be fresh and don't dare overcook the rice), but then someone who knows what he is doing wouldn't need the advice offered. (Except if they are British, of course, and have never tasted proper food.)
It must be literature, then, but it is very conscious of itself and its status as a classic, the references to ewe mutton are still there and are now references to "ewe mutton, should you ever have to deal with it", and that is that kind of self-conscious pretentiousness I just hate. The Guttuso illustrations are sadly missing, careless editing has seen to that, the references in the text are stil present as dangling pointers.
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