Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Jewish Flavours of Italy: A Family Cookbook

Jewish Flavours of Italy is a lovely cookbook filled with family recipes collected and curated by Silvia Nacamulli wrapped in a rich tapestry of diaspora history of the Jews in Italy. Due out 23rd May 2023 from Pen & Sword on their Green Bean Books imprint, it's 336 pages and will be available in hardcover format. 

There are undeniably quite a lot of wonderful recipes here, but for me the biggest value was in the background history of the Jewish diaspora in Italy; the food was almost secondary. The author writes accessibly and authoritatively on the subject and I learned a great deal about the immigration of Jews in the area as well as how they adapted to local ingredients whilst still remaining true to their religious and cultural identity at the same time they built a strong rapport in their new homes. 

All of the recipes include commentary and background history such as where the dish originated and regional specifics. Recipe ingredients are given in a bullet list in a sidebar. Measurements are provided in metric measures with imperial (American) measurements in parentheses. The cooking directions and tutorials are written clearly and many are accompanied by multiple photos which are in colour and easy to understand. The photographers have done a stellar job of providing clear action shots without obscuring hands or utensils in the way.

Most of the ingredients will be easily found at a well stocked grocery store. Some few specialty ingredients may need to be acquired from international type food stores or sourced online. 

The author has included some conversion charts for measurements in the back of the book as well as an abbreviated bibliography and comprehensive index. Much of the book is written in Italian on one column and translated side by side in a column of English on the right side of the page. All of the recipes are written in English with only the dish names in both languages.

Five stars. A wonderfully well written, solidly useful book which would be a superlative choice for public or home library acquisition, as well as gift-giving.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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