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Popes, Peasants, and Shepherds: Recipes and Lore from Rome and Lazio (California Studies in Food & Culture) (California Studies in Food and Culture) Hardcover – 5 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Tra edition (5 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520271548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520271548
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 551,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Excellent, witty... Not to be confused with your everyday cookbook... It is a keeper for my own kitchen." -- Vera Marie Badertscher A Traveler's Library 20130403

About the Author

Oretta Zanini De Vita is a distinguished Italian food historian. She is the author of more than forty books on Italian food and its traditions, including Encyclopedia of Pasta (UC Press).

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By I. Darren TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Gastronomes and historians alike might like this book, considering the rich diversity of food that has kept generations of Romans fed over time.

Looking at the food of Rome and the region of Lazio, the author takes the reader on a complete tour, evaluating the landscape that contributes to food diversity and the gradual changes and development that followed along with changes in society and lifestyles. Fish once played a key role in the typical Roman diet, thanks to the flowing River Tiber dispensing fish for everyone. Yet changes to Rome to make it the capital of Italy emasculated the river and the fishing industry leading to an irrevocable culinary change.

Of course, other ingredients such as pasta, olive oil, ricotta, lamb and pork play a key role in everyday foods, yet it is interesting to track the changing availability of ingredients over time, their impact on dishes and the mark left on society as a whole. The author has carefully wove an interesting story that speeds through the centuries at a leisurely pace (sic). Even modern day inhabitants of Rome may not recognise their city, as experienced by their ancestors.

Changes come and go, different cultures fuse and merge into the mainstream and a gradual cosmopolitan veneer affects everyday Roman life. This book is written in an academic style with the customary additional notes and a detailed bibliography at the end. Yet this is an academic book with a difference, featuring over 250 authentic, easy-to-follow recipes that can be reproduced in any kitchen. It would have, however, been nice to have had some photographs of the dishes, even if it had to be in a centrefold spread sorted by recipe number. A book of recipes, particularly when many of them may not be familiar, just seems incomplete without it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Complex story well told 15 Feb. 2013
By I. Darren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Gastronomes and historians alike might like this book, considering the rich diversity of food that has kept generations of Romans fed over time.

Looking at the food of Rome and the region of Lazio, the author takes the reader on a complete tour, evaluating the landscape that contributes to food diversity and the gradual changes and development that followed along with changes in society and lifestyles. Fish once played a key role in the typical Roman diet, thanks to the flowing River Tiber dispensing fish for everyone. Yet changes to Rome to make it the capital of Italy emasculated the river and the fishing industry leading to an irrevocable culinary change.

Of course, other ingredients such as pasta, olive oil, ricotta, lamb and pork play a key role in everyday foods, yet it is interesting to track the changing availability of ingredients over time, their impact on dishes and the mark left on society as a whole. The author has carefully wove an interesting story that speeds through the centuries at a leisurely pace (sic). Even modern day inhabitants of Rome may not recognise their city, as experienced by their ancestors.

Changes come and go, different cultures fuse and merge into the mainstream and a gradual cosmopolitan veneer affects everyday Roman life. This book is written in an academic style with the customary additional notes and a detailed bibliography at the end. Yet this is an academic book with a difference, featuring over 250 authentic, easy-to-follow recipes that can be reproduced in any kitchen. It would have, however, been nice to have had some photographs of the dishes, even if it had to be in a centrefold spread sorted by recipe number. A book of recipes, particularly when many of them may not be familiar, just seems incomplete without it. Even though this is not just a book of recipes, it would have made a difference. As it is, the recipes are well-laid out, easy to read and contain all of the key information required (with the exception of an estimated preparation and cooking time - something we complain about with most books we see!). So the lack of photographs is a curious omission.

At the end of the book there is a detailed glossary of terms and ingredients which was an interesting, welcome addition and there should be a detailed index of recipes and a general index (but these were not present in this review copy) so an opinion as to their depth and quality cannot be offered. The overall layout of this book suits an academic work but with the addition of all of these recipes, perhaps it would have been in order to have worked on the design a little to make it more "user friendly". In a kitchen, slabs of closely-printed single font text is not the best way to present a detailed, involved recipe.

This book manages to execute a comprehensive subject well, despite the foregoing complaints and observations, and this was a welcome surprise to be sure. As a book for the general reader with an interest in Italian food, maybe this needs a bit more polish. As it is, you perhaps need to be a bit more dedicated and devoted to the subject to fully embrace this book. It won't grab the casual browser - and when you consider what they are potentially missing out on, that is a big, big shame.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I particularly like that the focus of this book is on the ... 19 Nov. 2014
By Oliver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I particularly like that the focus of this book is on the Lazio region of Italy. The first part of the book has a nice history of the region that I found very interesting...then it moves to the recipes...haven't tried any of them yet, but will.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Would like it better if it had some pictures 5 Mar. 2015
By Jordan H. Kanavel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lots of words. Would like it better if it had some pictures.
I've Discovered a Real Gem!!!! 10 May 2015
By John William Banchero - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I ordered this book after reading several recipes on the Internet and realized that I'd discovered a real gem. As a one time resident of Rome and a cook and caterer both in California and Italy for 40 years I know this book is spot-on about the true kitchen of my beloved Roma. I'm in great anticipation of its arrival, I know intuitively that it will be in a place of prominence in my library of over 4,000 cook books.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
REAL Roman recipies 24 Mar. 2013
By Brian Fuerst - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First half is history and stories of Rome and Lazio. Second half is real authentic recipes. I just wish the author would have given background information on each of the recipes.
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