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The Food of Italy [Paperback]

Claudia Roden
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 18 Oct 1990 --  

Book Description

18 Oct 1990
Claudia Roden researched The Food of Italy travelling throughout the country for over a year taking in both city and countryside. From simple and rustic to grand bravura, these recipes represent traditional regional dishes as they are cooked today in Italy. Claudia Roden presents them against a backdrop of the story of their regions and their people.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (18 Oct 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009976220X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099762201
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 18.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,107,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Timeless... Completely approachable for home cooks" (Daily Telegraph)

"So much more than a catch-all Italian cookbook. Claudia's writing puts the romance back into ubiquitous dishes such as panzanella and bolognese, and gives context to classic flavour combinations and techniques we take for granted... It's time to fall back in love with Italian mama food, guided by the mama of cookery writing and food anthropology" (Eve O'Sullivan Guardian)

"A glorious feast of a book, a splendid history, geography and cookery lesson rolled into one" (Financial Times)

"Claudia Roden's Food of Italy is one of the most used and loved books on our book shelf. Her knowledge and understanding of the regions and their food and culture makes this one of the most authentic of all Italian cookbooks" (Puth Rogers and Rose Gray The River Cafe) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A fully illustrated updated 25th anniversary edition of Claudia Roden's masterpiece cookbook --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious book that has changed my life 17 Mar 2004
By A Customer
I have always been a keen fan of Italian cookery, but found some of the more trendy modern cookbooks a little too River Cafe, with recipes asking you to buy all manner of obscure ingredients and drizzle them about. Not so this book by Claudia Roden, which I discovered in 2000 as an out of print item in my local library and had out on almost permanent loan. Imagine my delight when it reissued in late 2002.
What I loved about this book was the author's real feel for the country. The author spent a year travelling round Italy in 1989 from top to bottom and has themed the book in a regional manner starting with the Piedmont region and gradually working her way down the country to Sicily and Sardinia. In the original edition, it could be a little confusing if you liked to find your recipes by starter or fish / meat etc as the regional theming cut across looking in this way, However, the new edition has a very clear listing early on in this format so that you can easily find recipes by type of food as well as region.
Where to start - my personal favourite sections are those which concentrate on the more earthy peasant food of the far South and Sicily. The Vermicelli alla sirucusana on p231 is a gorgeous mix of flavours - aubergine, yellow peppers, olive oil, garlic, anchovies, tomato, olives, capers (important, they must be the ones stored in salt), basil etc. Simple, flavoursome and amazing food.
If you have a local market where you can buy fresh produce this book is great. For vegetarians there are plenty of options, with stuffed vegetables taking predecence. Recipes for stuffed mushrooms and peppers are good. Plenty of fresh soups are there for the making as well as vegetable side dishes.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars probably my favourite italian cooking book 2 Aug 2004
I am really fond of Italy and italian food; as I lived there for a year, I had the opportunity to try many italian specialities, and was looking for a book that was both easy to use, concise, and very good, so I am happy that I found this book from Claudia Roden which is really good. All the recipes I tried were exactly what one could expect, and often I was surprised that despite the few ingredients ( the osso bucco for example) the dish is still very tasty.
Thanks to this book, I can prepare a very decent lasagne bolognese, a tasty osso buco, a very good foccaccia bread, a nice panna cotta and many more. I am very enthousiastic about this writer and have also bought her book about mediterranean cooking, which is also very genuine.
(By the way, I am a real mediterranean, so I should know these things ;-) )
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This cookery book contains a spectacular choice of Italy's varied and delicious regional cuisine, interspersed (naturally) with subtle details and vignettes which build up the cultural background to the food. Look up where she got her olive flat bread recipe from to see the depth of her credentials...
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classic italian cookbook 2 Aug 2002
Is this book a classic ? Its a book I turn often to read for pleasure and use for cooking. Ms Roden writes about the food of each region in a clear and unfussy way. There's background on regional cuisuces and wines thrown prefacing each chapter. Most of the ensuing recipes are winners - easy to make; ingredients can be sourced without a trip to Italy(!); and results for me have been delicious ! The index lists dishes by type which is very handy indeed if you fancy a bowl of pasta but don't want to trawl though each region's recipes.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic cook book every foodie should have. 20 Nov 2010
I was shown a copy of this book by a friend at work who new I was on the hunt for pumkin recipies as my allotment provided an abundance this year. She recomended this as it had some tasty pumkin dishes inside and described it as the most authentic source of Italian recipies she had read - and she herself is Italian so that carried some weight. Just a short read and I fell in love with it, not just its recipies but taking Italian cuisine region by region is an education in both culture and history of this facinating country. This must have been a first edition judging by copyright page info, dated 1989 - and I doubted I would find a copy for myself so I photocopied some pages and gave it back. She did not want it out of her shight or risk losing it and I could understand why.
Imagine my excitement when I not only found many second hand copies available from Amazon and other sources, but new copies as well reprinted after more than 20 years. For a book to remain in print for so long must indicate it's quality and calling it a classic would be no understatement. Some my bemoan the lack of pictures or illustrations of the dishes described, but this is a book that takes its subject seriously and is to be used to make glorious food, not to rest on a coffee table and rarely see the inside of a kitchen.
Clauia Rosen does not only write accurate and interesting recipies, but her introductions to each region, and little descriptions, memories and tips throughout are a delight to read. It baffles me that anyone would let go of a book like this and put it on the second hand market. Move aside Jamie Oliver, this is the real Italy on a plate.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But correct the polenta recipe before you start 24 July 2011
Last year I had a frozen shoulder preventing me going to music school in the summer. Instead I enrolled in a summer school in Italy, that offered four parallel tracks: Italian cookery, Italian language, water colour painting, and hedonism. The concept for the cooks was that we would be instructed hands on in the kitchens of the four best restaurants at San Piero in Bagno, an unspoilt provincial backwater in Emilia-Romagna. The long suffering chefs, practicing a mixture of riot control and accident prevention, coached us to produce authentic meals to feed the linguists and artists, and confound the hedonists. On return, browner and fatter, I invested in Claudia Roden's book, thinking it would fill out the theoretical underpinning that the cookery school had omitted.
The book admirably filled this need. Ms. Roden systematically visits each region of Italy, and provides a geographical and social background for the produce and recipes for each region. Therefore you understand why one region cooks rice, another flavours the food with truffles, why our Emilia-Romagna kitchens instructed us in pasta, pasta and pasta - and your mouth waters as you read. The recipes are approachable in that the majority only require a manageable number of ingredients, and most ingredients would be available anywhere, or a substitute is suggested. It is often the combination that makes the recipe uniquely Italian - see e.g. broccoli on page 265 - rather than the inclusion of a particular item whose absence might prevent you making the dish. There are no illustrative photos, but in fact the writing is so lively, you can easily imagine the finished effect. There are small line drawings to decorate the pages.
My warning in the title comes from polenta on page 125.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars If you are happy to cook with offal this is the book for ...
If you are happy to cook with offal this is the book for you, there are some nice recipes in here but I think it was just a bit too authentic for me. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Mrs J Preshous
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
beautiful book and brilliant recipes
Published 29 days ago by klaus falbe-hansen
4.0 out of 5 stars Having had this book for about three years now, ...
Having had this book for about three years now, I find it an interesting read about the history of cooking in the various regions, but I don't use the recipes. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael Tomlinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic by Claudia.
If you like Claudia Roden, you will love this. For those who don't know her, expect lots of writing on a country's history, culture, people, before getting to the recipe section. Read more
Published 2 months ago by boo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect thanks
Published 2 months ago by Em
5.0 out of 5 stars A simply fantastic cookery book
Great book Claudia Roden has a wonderful understanding of Italian food i.e. keep it simple with a few of the best freshest ingredients
and really easy to follow recipes that... Read more
Published 2 months ago by kathleen addis
5.0 out of 5 stars Best ever Italian cookbook!
If you love Italy and its fresh in-season approach to food, you will love this book. No recipe is complicated, instructions are easy to follow, photos are mouth-wateringly... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Emily Heath
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful edition of a favourite cook book.
I am absolutely thrilled with this hardback edition of a book I have in paperback which is beginning to fall apart from long usage. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Jean D. Andrews
4.0 out of 5 stars reveiws on this book were excellent
i purchased this book on my kindle and although it is fine on the kindle i still prefer a cookery book to look at it has loads of recipes and lots of info on areas of italy and the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by jenny penny
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD GRUB BUT
I found this book to be so similar to so many others before. The Regional direction is interesting but most of the best recipes are so well known that it is hard to know what I... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chatty Kathy
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