La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

3.2 26
by Italian Academy of Cuisine
     
 

Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves,

Overview

Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The most complete and authentic Italian cookbook ever published in the English language, featuring more than 2,000 recipes by home cooks, for home cooks.

“This bible of the Italian culinary tradition is now available in English, a must-have reference book for all who love cooking and eating the dishes of Il Bel Paese—Italy.”
~Lidia Bastianich, author of Lidia’s Italy

“If you have been to Italy and still dream about the fish soup you had in Liguria, the peppery pasta of Rome, or the seafood risotto of Venice—not to worry—all these dishes can be found here. This book shows that trends may come and go but the tradition of great, heartwarming Italian food is here to stay.”
~Biba Caggiano, author of Biba’s Italy

“As one would expect from a book put together by the members of the Italian Academy of Cuisine, this represents the apex of Italian food culture. The book is an essential contribution to our understanding of the intricate complexities of real Italian food. I have found here recipes unknown to me, despite my having studied the subject for more than five decades.”
~Comm. Antonio Carluccio, OBE, author of Italia: The Recipes and Customs of the Regions

"This impressive collection of recipes is a testament to the extraordinary diversity of Italian cuisine."
~Giuliano Hazan, author of Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta

“A comprehensive book, loaded with interesting recipes. This is the way Italians cook.”
~Pino Luongo, chef and author of Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen and Dirty Dishes

“At a time when regional distinctions are blurring in Italian cuisine, the publication of La Cucina comes as a forceful and comprehensive reminder of the enormous diversity and honest goodness of home cooking, which has always been the true basis for the country’s gastronomy.”
~John Mariani, author of The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink
 
“Many of us feel we know the regional dishes of Italy, yet this bible of a book broadens our horizons to the unexpected. It will teach you the traditions and ingredients of Italy and an understanding of Italians’ approach to cooking—a book to truly treasure.”
~Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, The River Café

"If you’ve traveled in Italy, you’ve probably wondered why, say, pasta with chickpeas is made differently in towns 10 kilometers apart, or why you have never found that spice cake you loved in Terni anywhere else. That’s because Italian cooking isn’t just regional, it’s microregional as La Cucina proves to fascinating effect. This book packs in so many recipes there’s no room for bucolic back stories, photos or detailed instructions…but what delicious recipes you’ll find…picking and preparing dishes at random will prove an enjoyable game for winter’s day."
~New York Times Book Review

"La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy (Rizzoli, 2009) is a masterpiece of Italian cooking, compiled by the founders of the Italian Academy of Cuisine. It's an essential addition to any cook's library with 2,000 recipes."
~Saveur

"Try to cook your way through one of these books. Bigger is better with new cookbook trend."
~The Associated Press

"The book is absurdly comprehensive…"
~Time Out New York

"La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy (Rizzoli; 928 pages; $45). More than 2,000 recipes from all over Italy, collected a half century ago by cultural preservationists and published here for the first time in English. The recipes are neatly organized and identified by region - there are dozens of recipes just for anchovies (yes, that is a good thing). Every home should have a copy."
~The San Francisco Chronicle

"The book reads that way, familial and familiar, idiosyncratic yet organized, and feels at times like spending a year in Italian kitchens, circa 1950. Nonni would approve."
~Foreword Magazine

Christine Muhlke
The book packs in so many recipes there's no room for bucolic back stories, photos or detailed instructions. And, this being an Italian book, organization isn't a strength. Recipes within a section aren't alphabetized or grouped by ingredient or region, so if you're looking for a bean soup, it's best to hunt through the ingredients appendix. But what delicious, oddball treasures you'll find: Trentino-style hare braised in spiced red wine, black polenta, stuffed lasagna and five varieties of bread soup. O.K., so the donkey and cabbage stew doesn't translate beyond Piemonte, but picking and preparing dishes at random will prove an enjoyable game for a winter's day.
—The New York Times
Library Journal
The mission of the Italian Academy of Cuisine, founded in 1953, is to preserve the gastronomical heritage of Italy. This translation of its 2005 La Cucina del Bel Paese compiles 2000 recipes representing the history and geography of Italy. Chapters are arranged by traditional Italian courses—appetizers and pizza; soups; pasta, polenta, and rice; fish; meat and poultry; vegetables; cheese dishes; and desserts—and recipes are presented in alphabetical order by the Italian name, with the regional origin included. Some recipes may have different versions based on regional interpretation—barley soup from, e.g., Valle D'Aosta, Lombardia, and Veneto. Although an effort has been made to adapt the recipes for American cooks, some instructions are not very specific—for an almond cake, the recipe suggests using a "baking pan." Others will require some kitchen experience—Lamb Offal with Artichokes instructs cooks to "clean the offal." There are recipes for horsemeat, donkey, eel, goat, rabbit, squid, and tripe. The two indexes are by region and ingredient, but a recipe index would have been a good addition. VERDICT This authoritative compendium surpasses the works of Ada Boni and Marcella Hazan and is sure to become a classic. Enthusiastically recommended for serious cooks.—Christine Bulson, SUNY at Oneonta Lib.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780847831470
Publisher:
Rizzoli
Publication date:
10/20/2009
Pages:
928
Sales rank:
612,256
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 10.30(h) x 2.80(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

The Italian Academy of Cuisine was founded in 1953 in Milan to preserve the gastronomical heritage of Italy. Each year it hosts a number of education programs and awards prizes to leaders in gastronomy. Among its publications are a monthly magazine and a restaurant guide.

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La Cucina 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful 'history' cook book for the different regions of Italy. I actually found traditional dishes from our part of Italy and was very excited!! Would be a unique cook book to give as a gift to those that truly love the art of Italian cooking
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every region's delectable goodies and noteworthy specialties are found in this comprehensive cookbook. And I mean . . . EVERY ONE! I've been there, eaten it, and wished I had the recipe. Now I do!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A superlative resource for regional Italian cooking. If you already know HOW to cook italian food (i.e. are familiar with cooking techniques, ingredients, etc.) and would like more recipes, this is the book. BUT if you're looking to learn HOW to cook italian food, you'd better start somewhere else (e.g. Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cooking, Cooks Illustrated Italian Classics, etc.) b/c apart from the quantities of ingredients which the recipe requires it does not tell you how long to cook x, y or z, before adding a, b, or c ingredient; it does not tell you how hot to heat the pan, etc. You could learn how to cook with this book if you had someone's nonna to show you how to do it.
Jan-Kostka More than 1 year ago
Anything you would ever want to know about Italian reciepes
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VeryThorough More than 1 year ago
I tend to prefer cookbooks with beautiful color photos to inspire me to cook what's inside them, and you won't find those here. However, I like the pure historical, encyclopedic quality of La Cucina. It makes me feel like I've purchased a historical artifact. If you're looking for truly authentic regional Italian cooking, from the cooks themselves, you can't get more authentic than this! Also - Fast & Free Delivery was awesome--fastest I've ever seen. The book actually arrived on my doorstep less than 27 hours after I clicked "order."
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weezielo More than 1 year ago
I found the receipes very interesting. Although it is a difficult book to work through due to organization, but the food is exceptional regional offerings. For anyone really interested in Italian food, this is a must have book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good reference cookbook and got it on sale...great.
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