Cookbook #5: The gateway to Italy’s timeless recipes


11 months ago, I held a book in my hand. 11 months ago, I fell in love, but 11 months ago, blogging slightly overwhelmed me and before I knew it, months had passed without me touching its inviting spotted cover.

The time has come to open the book.

Italian cuisine is sexy. But its flavors aren’t abrasive nor does it challenge you to think differently about your culinary experience. Instead, the flavors are warm and inviting. The tomatoes hold the warmth of a Sicilian sun. Its sauces are intensified not by spices, but by herbs and a few distinct flavors stewed together over low heat for hours. Everyone I know loves Italian. I have to believe that Italian cookbooks sell better than any other regional cookbooks.

In a world inundated with content and book-dealers who run after bloggers, where can you find Italian “authenticity”? For me it is in Il cucchiaio d’argento.

Designed by Editoriale Domus, an Italian design company,  Il cucchiaio d’argento was written mostly because the publishers of Il talismano della felicita, the original Italian cookbook, didn’t want to give up the publishing rights to Il talismano.

The publishers of Il talismano della felicita have rued this decision ever since.

It didn’t take long before no to-be Mother-in-Laws bought Il talismano for their future Daughter-in-Laws and little by little Il cucchiaio became the cookbook everyone had on their shelf. Not particularly surprising really. The recipes are clearer, it is the first book that we have looked at that has pictures AND measurements.

If you want authenticity this is still the Italian cookbook of choice for Italians. It has been translated into English, German, Dutch and French. Today, the editors of Il cucchiaio run a twitter account, a Pinterest board, and a blog. This book is the Helen Mirren of cookbooks. Somehow, it looks better at 50 than it did at 20.

I could, of course, work directly off of the English version or have chosen a later version, but newer editions don’t hold the weight of tradition that these old books, smelling of active microscopic mold from years in a basement, have.

So, I turn back to the over-saturated, off-tint and off-balance photographs of the 1950s.

Let’s hope it gives me all the tradition I expect….

Of course, don’t take my word for it. Listen instead to the English publisher, who’s is Italian, who jumped at the chance to translate it. Guys, this is the one!!!

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