This magnificent new book demonstrates the development of a distinctive, unified culinary tradition throughout the Italian peninsula. Thematically organized and beautifully illustrated, Italian Cuisine is a rich history of the ingredients, dishes, techniques, and social customs behind the Italian food we know and love today.
In this history of Italy's food, cooking, and eating, the authors have opted for an "everything including the kitchen sink" approach. Throughout, Capatti, who has written several books on food and eating, and Montanari (history, Univ. of Bologna) offer extensive lists of foodstuffs and names of dishes, sometimes to the detriment of the point they are trying to make. Organized topically rather than chronologically, the book constantly folds back on itself, leaving the reader with an ongoing feeling of familiarity with recurring names but not with an appropriate context. Although the topics range widely, from the lexicon of Italian food to the dress code for kitchen staff, one senses that there are still gaps. The 20th century and the effects of the open European Community on Italian eating, for example, are scarcely touched. The wealth of notes and suggested readings are the book's greatest offering. Suitable for academic libraries.-Peter Hepburn, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.