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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celebrating simple Tuscan cooking, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen (Hardcover)
I am not one who buys cookbooks. I have a few at home, and the one I go to the most is a fat tome of a book from the 1990's which has over a 1000 recipes. It is always reliable when I need an answer to the question "what can I do with the neck of lamb/glut of apples/tray of eggs that my neighbour gave me". Nothing fancy, but easy to follow. However, as someone who has read all of Frances Mayes' books, I bought this as soon as it was available. Partly for the recipes, and partly to read more about her life as a part-time resident in Tuscany.

For those unfamiliar with American author Frances Mayes, she wrote (almost 20 years ago) "Under the Tuscan Sun", a book about how she, in her middle-age, took a big risk and purchased an abandoned house with 5 acres of land in Italy after a painful divorce. How, through the restoration of her house, she made a fresh start in her life, forged a new relationship, and learned to reconnect with the land. I urge everyone to read this book first, as it will give you a sense of Mayes' life in a foreign country, how she embraces simple quotidien life. Plus, it's just a great book, beautifully written and in my opinion the best example of this genre. Once you read this, you will perhaps appreciate this cookbook a little more as she discusses old friends and her two houses in Italy. Alongside the recipes, she writes a little anecdote about each one, how the recipe came about or where they first tried the dish. The tone is casual and conversational, and draws the reader in so you can almost read it like a novel. Mayes focuses on the Italian tradition of "cucina povera", when the housewife had to make do with what was available, in season. Nothing is fancy or complicated, and sticks to simple, robust, fresh ingredients. Most of the recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs taken (according to Frances) at the Mayes' homes, prepared by the Mayes' themselves and eaten immediately after the photos were taken!

I haven't tried any of the recipes yet although nothing looks too daunting. At the beginning of the book, she explains store-cupboard basics to have on hand, such as homemade tomato sauce and seasonings, as these often form the basis of many of the recipes. She writes in a chatty, conversational way and you almost feel you are at her side as she explains things. After the basics, she then starts with antipasti and finishes with dolci, with a few pages in between on selecting good olive oil and how to make pasta. With each recipe, she suggests a wine to accompany the dish, although I am not sure how easy they would be to source in the local US or UK supermarkets. (Also - the measurements are in American cups but it's not hard to convert for the UK kitchen).

This book makes me feel homesick, although my home isn't anything like hers. If you love Italian cooking, or anything to do with Italy, I'm sure you will like this book. Oh, and I should add - Frances and Ed wrote the book together - if you want to know more about Ed read Under the Tuscan Sun!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars takes you back to a very beautiful part of the world, 9 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen (Hardcover)
great book - beautiful food and beautiful photographs - every recipe I have tried so far has been a succes
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous recipes !, 26 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen (Hardcover)
Apart from the interesting read and gorgeous photos, this book has wonderful recipes. The Lemon Cake is a real favourite !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book with colour photos, 10 April 2013
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L. Montgomery (Doncaster England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen (Hardcover)
This book is exactly as I expected. Lots of basic recipes and not too difficult to make. More of the ingredients are now appearing in my local supermarket.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a cookbook, 28 July 2014
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This review is from: The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen (Hardcover)
Not just a cookbook, more a way of lfe; the book has fabulous recipes that actually work, having such contributors as Silvia Baracchi it has to be good - even down to the salt rubs and the Ragu, which are both totaly authentic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I you love books of Frances Mayes you will love also this ..., 14 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen (Hardcover)
I you love books of Frances Mayes you will love also this one. It also full of sun. And I love these small recommendation which are so helpful for non-professional cooks. Try it.
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The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen
The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen by Edward Mayes (Hardcover - 20 April 2012)
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