Never Trust a Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital

Never Trust a Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital

by Eric Dregni
     
 

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I simply want to live in the place with the best food in the world. This dream led Eric Dregni to Italy, first to Milan and eventually to a small, fog-covered town to the north: Modena, the birthplace of balsamic vinegar, Ferrari, and Luciano Pavarotti. Never Trust a Thin Cook is a classic American abroad tale, brimming with adventures both

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Overview

I simply want to live in the place with the best food in the world. This dream led Eric Dregni to Italy, first to Milan and eventually to a small, fog-covered town to the north: Modena, the birthplace of balsamic vinegar, Ferrari, and Luciano Pavarotti. Never Trust a Thin Cook is a classic American abroad tale, brimming with adventures both expected and unexpected, awkward social moments, and most important, very good food.

Parmesan thieves. Tortellini based on the shape of Venus's navel. Infiltrating the secret world of the balsamic vinegar elite. Life in Modena is a long way from the Leaning Tower of Pizza (the south Minneapolis pizzeria where Eric and his girlfriend and fellow traveler Katy first met), and while some Italians are impressed that "Minnesota" sounds like "minestrone," they are soon learning what it means to live in a country where the word "safe" doesn't actually exist-only "less dangerous." Thankfully, another meal is always waiting, and Dregni revels in uncorking the secrets of Italian cuisine, such as how to guzzle espresso "corrected" with grappa and learning that mold really does make a good salami great.

What begins as a gastronomical quest soon becomes a revealing, authentic portrait of how Italians live and a hilarious demonstration of how American and Italian cultures differ. In Never Trust a Thin Cook, Eric Dregni dishes up the sometimes wild experiences of living abroad alongside the simple pleasures of Italian culture in perfect, complementary proportions.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Stopping first at the Leaning Tower of Pizza in Minneapolis, where he met and fell in love with his girlfriend, Katy, Dregni (English, Concordia Univ.; In Cod We Trust: Living the Norwegian Dream) then persuaded her to move to the northern Italian town of Modena, where their interest in eating amazing food was bankrolled by teaching English to Italians and writing a weekly newspaper column. Their own education in cultural differences encompasses the mores of coffee drinking, victimization by elderly ladies in the supermarket, the notorious vagaries of bureaucracy, and the physical limitations of guests' stomachs to ingest massive quantities of food proffered by insistent hosts. Somewhat similar in tone to Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, Dregni's essays easily and deftly draw the reader into the rhythm of his Italian community—a trait he shares with Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun), although readers will find him rather more attuned to the quiet humor of the everyday. VERDICT This witty and evocative culinary memoir will appeal to food lovers, those interested in Italy and Italian culture, and anyone who enjoys a good travel narrative. Highly recommended.—Courtney Greene, DePaul Univ. Lib., Chicago

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816667451
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
09/11/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
641,152
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

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