The Oxford Companion to Italian Food

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9780198606178: The Oxford Companion to Italian Food

Here is an inspiring, wide-ranging A-Z guide to one of the world's best-loved cuisines. Designed for cooks and consumers alike, The Oxford Companion to Italian Food covers all aspects of the history and culture of Italian gastronomy, from dishes, ingredients, and delicacies to cooking methods and implements, regional specialties, the universal appeal of Italian cuisine, influences from outside Italy, and much more.

Following in the footsteps of princes and popes, vagabond artists and cunning peasants, austere scholars and generations of unknown, unremembered women who shaped pasta, moulded cheeses and lovingly tended their cooking pots, Gillian Riley celebrates a heritage of amazing richness and delight. She brings equal measures of enthusiasm and expertise to her writing, and her entries read like mini-essays, laced with wit and gastronomical erudition, marked throughout by descriptive brilliance, and entirely free of the pompous tone that afflicts so much writing about food.

The Companion is attentive to both tradition and innovation in Italian cooking, and covers an extraordinary range of information, from Anonimo Toscano, a medieval cookbook, to Bartolomeo Bimbi, a Florentine painter commissioned by Cosimo de Medici to paint portraits of vegetables, to Paglierina di Rifreddo, a young cheese made of unskimmed cows' milk, to zuppa inglese, a dessert invented by 19th century Neapolitan pastry chefs. Major topics receive extended treatment. The entry for Parmesan, for example, runs to more than 2,000 words and includes information on its remarkable nutritional value, the region where it is produced, the breed of cow used to produce it (the razza reggiana, or vacche rosse), the role of the cheese maker, the origin of its name, Molière's deathbed demand for it, its frequent and lustrous depiction in 16th and 17th century paintings, and the proper method of serving, where Riley admonishes: "One disdains the phallic peppermill, but must always appreciate the attentive grating, at the table, of parmesan over pasta or soup, as magical in its way as shavings of truffles." Such is the scope and flavor of The Oxford Companion to Italian Food.

For anyone with a hunger to learn more about the history, culture and variety of Italian cuisine, The Oxford Companion to Italian Food offers endless satisfactions.

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About the Author:


Gillian Riley is a food historian and freelance typographer. She has written many books on food in art such as Renaissance Recipes and Impressionistic Picnics and is the author of A Feast for the Eyes, the National Gallery Cookbook. Riley contributes regularly to the Oxford Food Symposium. She lives in London.

Review:


"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


"Gillian Riley has written an instant classic on Italy and its fascinating food. Dive in at any entry and I challenge you not to find yourself turning pages to be drawn more and more deeply in. Along the way you'll find botanists and bakers, a food obsessed Sicilian detective, bay leaf consuming Maenads, as well as dishes and ingredients from millennia of chefs, cooks, painters and writers; Italy in the full splendor of its food-rich history."--Carol Field


"I didn't know Gillian Riley when I first learned of the project, but as I read her manuscript I quickly saw that she wrote with passion, knowledge, and an ever-important pinch of humor. Consult this book for answers to questions great and small about Italy's rich culinary history, but do so also to remind yourself that the best food is most often prepared in a simple fashion, with readily available ingredients. It defines who we are. So if the best food is what makes us healthiest, and happiest, then let us follow Gillian in hot pursuit."--from the foreword by Mario Batali


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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2007. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The popularity of Italian food all over the world is ever increasing. Unhampered by any sense of superiority, and unburdened by the weight of a great classical tradition, Italians cook and eat in the ways they have known and trusted for generations, absorbing new influences while cultivating and maintaining a distinct and esteemed gastronomic tradition. Lovers of Italy, the Italian people, and their cuisine, from the general ravioli revering public to those with specialist skills and interests, will welcome this new A-Z reference. The Companion consists of a short introduction followed by entries covering a range of topics such as the universal appeal of Italian gastronomy, influences from outside Italy, dishes, ingredients, delicacies, obscure terms, cooking methods and implements, regional specialties, personalities, books and writers, and history. This is an inspirational work providing an even blend of history, practical information, quotation, and anecdote. Codice libro della libreria FLT9780198606178

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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2007. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The popularity of Italian food all over the world is ever increasing. Unhampered by any sense of superiority, and unburdened by the weight of a great classical tradition, Italians cook and eat in the ways they have known and trusted for generations, absorbing new influences while cultivating and maintaining a distinct and esteemed gastronomic tradition. Lovers of Italy, the Italian people, and their cuisine, from the general ravioli revering public to those with specialist skills and interests, will welcome this new A-Z reference. The Companion consists of a short introduction followed by entries covering a range of topics such as the universal appeal of Italian gastronomy, influences from outside Italy, dishes, ingredients, delicacies, obscure terms, cooking methods and implements, regional specialties, personalities, books and writers, and history. This is an inspirational work providing an even blend of history, practical information, quotation, and anecdote. Codice libro della libreria FLT9780198606178

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