on 8 March 2002
I recently bought this book not knowing how useful it would be to me and discovered that I had hit the jackpot in finding the most informative and beautifully written recipe book I had come across. I do have a well stocked "library" full of recipe books by other well known food writers/cooks but none of them seemed to have this sort of quality that Marcella exudes - be it her style of writing and her passion of selecting ingrediants, preparation of ingrediants and how to go about reproducing the most authentic and exquisite dishes imaginable.
Marcella writes from her heart and this can be seen when she mentions that whatever she cooks, if it doesn't turn out well - it doesn't go into the book. I can't seem to get over how personal her writing is...like a love story.
I have put aside my other Italian recipe books and you will too once you get your hands on all of her books.
on 11 July 1999
The crowned Queen of Italian cookery, for many years La Bella Marcella ruled with unaffected dignity from her unpretentious Venetian palazzo, where she held court and conducted audiences, or Master Classes in the culinary arts, for privileged groups of paying guests. Married to Victor, she moved with her husband's job to New York, where Marcella started giving cookery lessons in their appartment and published The Classic Italian Cookbook in 1973. The Second Italian Cookbook followed, then Marcella's Kitchen, as did cookery schools in Italy; first Bologna and, lately, Venice. In 1992, Marcella firmly established her regal status with the publication of her magnum opus: The Essentials Of Classic Italian Cooking.
Marcella Cucina is her ultimate statement. Her received a record breaking advance for it and, since it's first publication two years ago, she's left Venice and retired to Florida. Now published in paperback, this precious book makes perfect poolside reading for people who read recipe books like novels. Those who don't should at least study the introduction, as Marcella's essays on marketing, with reference to her local market on the Rialto, and the Elements Of Taste provide the perfect primer for visitors to Italy.
But it is warmth with which her recipes are rendered, informed by the condensed experience of more than forty years of marriage, that make this book special. Marcella's marriage to Victor - who is pictured in the opening pages lugging a shopping trolley laden with green stuff - has been a constant source of inspiration: "I still cook to please my husband. When I am developing recipes for a book I do not follow what I understand to be the common practice of working on a chicken chapter, or a fish chapter, or any chapter whatever. I cook a meal that my husband and I eat." So, you see, it's a love story.
on 6 October 2001
After having had this book for several years now, I am still finding new things in it, and it really does have fantastic recipes in it, plus loads of info on how Italians really cook (salting tomatoes properly was a revelation). Also, all the pictures of her and Victor in Venice etc. meant I went through a phase of actually wanting to be her - a beautiful book.