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your favorite Italian cookbook?
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome, Sneakysocs.

I'd like to know more. Was The Blue Spoon written in the belief that The Silver Spoon (translated titles) did not address fish comprehensibly?

You'll notice that the latter book is mentioned earlier in this thread; it was just published in an English-language edition less than a year ago and sold out much earlier than a second printing was available. However, the book was not simply a translation of what US readers might consider the Italian Joy of Cooking; it was tailored, or altered expressly for American home cooks and catered to the cult of celebrity chefs by including new, non-traditional recipes by (the glorious) Mario Batali among others. This seems paradoxical to me because the whole point was to see what Italians themselves read now that so many more Italian ingredients are available here, whether imports, higher-quality domestic products (fresh mozzarella, La Quercia's prosciutto) or home-grown produce that was not available when Marcella Hazan first wrote her cookbooks.

In the UK Anna Del Conte seems to play the role Marcella Hazan plays in the US (I don't know about Canada, NZ, Australia or Ireland). In general, there are no Italian authors of Italian cookbooks whose works have been translated into English and become popular. I am not sure why, though some have claimed it is the lack of an Italian reverence for chefs.

I am a little skeptical since, after all, no one knew who Marcella Hazan was until she wrote her books. There are French chefs whose achievements are documented in cookbooks, but someone more knowledgeable would have to pipe up on this one. I can only think of the figures who have been introduced in collaboration with someone who writes in English: Dorie Greenspan for Pierre Herme, Patricia Wells for Robuchon or Jacques Pepin writing in English for himself.
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sneakychocs



Joined: 03 Jul 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Deste.

The Blue Spoon edition (2°) I have was printed back in 1997, so I doubt it has anything to do with The Silver Spoon, but to tell you the truth I don't know Smile

I agree to the fact that translations do sometimes lack accuracy, reason why, whenever possible, I'd rather buy a book in its original language.

I know that a couple of Silvana Franconeri cookbooks have been translated in French. I was missing a good fish cookbook and I chose this one which attracted me not for the name but for its content, and I am glad I did.

Few Italians appreciate fancy cooking, most will go for pasta and pizzas, but they do have good chefs, Gualtiero Marchesi, l'Artusi, Mario Caramella, GF Vissani, but alas many others have emigrated because, I believe, Italian cooking and food is much more appreciated (and pays much more) abroad than in Italy, where it is being taken for granted. Italy has so many different regions and, even though the ingredients are almost the same, each region has its own way of cooking, and the same recipe can be prepared differently according to the region....hard to keep up with it! The real Italian cuisine is more of a tradition passed from generation to generation, so I guess anybody can write his own cookbook without ever becoming renowned or wanting to be introduced.

Anyway, if you need help sometimes, or if you are stuck with an Italian recipe, I will be glad to help!
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sneakychocs wrote:
I agree to the fact that translations do sometimes lack accuracy, reason why, whenever possible, I'd rather buy a book in its original language.


Actually, what I meant was that instead of simply offering an exact translation of *The Silver Spoon* the publishers decided to offer a different book altogether, changing and augmenting sections to appeal to what they thought might be a different audience than the Italian couples who get copies upon marriage.

Quote:
Italy has so many different regions and, even though the ingredients are almost the same, each region has its own way of cooking, and the same recipe can be prepared differently according to the region....hard to keep up with it!

Yes, you'll see this pattern has been acknowledged in the past decade or so of cookbooks written for English-speaking cooks. Cf. earlier recommendations here for books on Roman cooking, Neapolitan, Emilia-Romagna....There are lots of Sicily, Tuscany, some on Liguria, Piedmont, Calabria, Friuli (*Lidia's Kitchen*), Venice and so forth, though a stronger trend has been to offer books with a broader view that acknowledge regional origins of dishes, whether course by course (*Molto Mario*) or in different, distinct chapters in books on Northern or Southern Italy or the islands.

Some Italian writers nonetheless maintain that there is such a thing as a comprehensive national quality to the dishes and foods of the country, including an insistence on local, seasonal food prepared simply in ways that accentuate and maintain the integrity of ingredients.
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