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on 27 June 2011
This is not the first cookbook with authentic Italian recipes, nor is it the most comprehensive. But it is the first to fully convey the joy to be had from the most typical of dishes, from all over Italy, in their most honest form. Each dish is honoured with a paragraph about what exciting memories and sensations it evokes in the author, then instructions for the recipe that are always clear and concise, never pedantic (which would be un-Italian), and a full-page photograph. And its greatest strength is that the recipes are so well chosen. Jacob Kenedy has spent a great deal of time, attentively, in Italy, and perhaps his not being Italian helped to him to be a better judge of what is most special over all; he can select recipes from anywhere in Italy without the interference of the local pride and prejudice that almost defines a true Italian. He makes this point in his book. But I think it has helped him in another way too: he has no anxiety about the humble origins of much Italian food (much of the best Italian food), as so many Italian-born chefs do. In fact his mission has been to glorify the most robust and basic aspects of Italian cookery, convinced that they are what make it specially satisfying and evocative. He is right, of course, which accounts for the success of his Bocca di Lupo restaurant. And this is also what should make this book such a success - it is a restaurant cookbook and yet the recipes will work at home, because they derive only from how Italians actually eat at home (if they are lucky).
Kenedy happens to have put affectionate emphasis on the cooking of Lazio, which is perhaps the simplest, and most maligned of Italian regional cuisines - maligned especially by trendy Romans - and the most adaptable to home kitchens abroad. It is great to see because this is food that has never had much exposure, and these days it is rare enough to find even in Rome; now foreigners will discover the joys of guanciale, fave, and pecorino, just as Romans have turned their noses up at them.
Really, it has become hard even in Italy for a foreigner to eat like this; Italian food is so often adulterated by what is expected of foreign tastes, and by the pointless anxiety of Italian chefs to seem modern, that unless you are invited into a local home, or you are lucky enough to stumble into a trattoria so dingy that it repels the average tourist, you are unlikely to see plates like those in Bocca. That is the last benefit of Bocca: it will show you what to look for in Italian food. (Sometimes Kenedy also directs you to where to find it, in different Italian cities.)

Lastly, mention should be made of the dessert section which, though necessarily more complicated, is excellent, and obviously where a great deal of Kenedy's enthusiasm has been directed.

If you want to know what it is like to eat well in Italy, and how you can eat like that wherever you may be, you should get this book.
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on 27 March 2012
I just love this book. Having bought it due to the fact that it was so cheap secondhand, I'm amazed that anybody would consider selling it once they owned it. There are loads of Italian cookbooks out there but what I like especially about this one is that it entices you with a few familiar dishes (in particular in the pasta section) and some that require minimum preparation, but also gives you a few challenges in terms of technique (sausage making!) and ingredients. Plus, it is so well written and enthusiastic about food that even tripe sounds quite tempting to a tripophobic. If you are interested in learning more about cooking the more unusual bits of animals, then this is a good place to look. It also have a really nice section on frozen desserts. I have a feeling this is going to be one of my most used cookbooks.
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on 23 August 2013
Bocca di Lupo, Jacob Kennedy's restaurant in London, serves fine modern Italian cuisine. The flavours and textures of the food are authentically Italian, which is a rarity.

In this book, Bocca, Jacob Kennedy has sought to maintain those exacting standards.

The chapters are divided into Raw, Cured/Sausages, Fried, Pasta, Risotto/Soup, Stews, Grilled/Pan-Fried, Roasts, Sides, Desserts/Biscuits, Frozen Desserts and Drinks/Cards.

The recipes are written in a style which is similar to that used in three of the four bibles of traditional Italian cookery (Il Cucchiaio d'Argento,Il talismano della felicità and Il grande libro della cucina italiana in oltre 5000 ricette regionali: [la più completa raccolta della nostra tradizione gastronomica] (Quest'Italia)), the earlier La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene, which I have reviewed separately, being the exception. Where Jacob Kennedy departs from the Italian style, it is to add further instruction for those less familiar with Italian cookery techniques, e.g. "Do not move the polenta during this time."

Moreover, the practical advice extends beyond the kitchen to ingredient selection, such as "Humungous [porcini] should be avoided, as their porous underside will have become slimy and nasty."

The range of recipes spans the country, from the Bicerin (Piedmont) through Tortellini in Brodo (Emilia-Romagna) to Caponata (Sicily). Jacob Kennedy has not shied away from using ingredients common in Italian cookery, but less commonly used or often underrated in the United Kingdom, such as squid ink, tripe, bone marrow and sweetbreads. I was delighted to find his sublime Sanguinaccio, a dessert-style blood pudding made with pig's blood, Marsala, dark chocolate and pine nuts, on page 382.

As befits a restauranteur whose now also has a gelateria (Gelupo), there are also several ice cream recipes.
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on 11 December 2014
This is a big old book that manages to interest and enthuse from the first page to the last. It is clear that the author burns for his cookery in general and Italian food in specific.

The recipes are divided into 12 sections and go from the raw to drinks via pasta, stews and others. Interspersed are small passages that informs you about what you are about to encounter and the recipes also have a personal reflection and/or information that adds more depth to it.

Reading this makes you feel like you were sitting in a kitchen talking to the author as he tells you how to cook the dishes and at the same time regales you with various tidbits about Italy, Italian cooking as well as his own journey to this book.

The selection of dishes is very wide and ranges from the easy to the very advanced - there is something for (almost everyone) in this one. It won't be hard to create menus for many different occasions and seasons from it.

I highly recommend it.
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on 30 April 2014
This a beautiful cookbook that is as inspiring as a visit to the restaurant.

Don't expect 200 pasta recipes however. This book covers plenty more, from making your own salami to Italian card games. Many of the recipes require you to invest a decent amount of time, or hunt down specific ingredients but you get back what you put in. Delicious food that ranges from hearty meat stews (the Peposo recipe is fantastic) to light summery salads. Get out there and find the rarer ingredients if you can, or get inventive and make some educated substitutions. Many of these are dishes to cook on a weekend when time allows it, but the taste of an Italian dish made with time and love cannot be beaten.
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on 16 December 2011
For foodies who must have the next "it" chef's cookbook, and for lovers of great Italian cuisine, Bocca will be essential reading and very well laid out recipes with stunning photographs.
Bocca di Lupo is an Italian trattoria with an international reputation. Tables are booked months in advance by diners from around the world who are seeking chef Jacob Kenedy's unique take on Italian cuisine.
In Bocca, Kenedy brings his own brand of Italian regional cooking out of the restaurant and into the home. Kenedy's cooking is simple and delicious, covering the full range of regional specialties: Tuscan porcini soup, Venetian tagliatelle with pigeon ragù, Lazian asparagus and prawn frittata, Sicilian fried mullet, and Neapolitan coffee with zabaione. Organized into food groups (pasta, soups, stews, roasts, etc.), with over 200 easy to follow recipes.
Great for the people who love healthy cooking.
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on 18 November 2011
Jacob Kennedy's Bocca di Lupo - is one of my favourites restaurants in the universe - and often booked due to it's popularity! How excited was I to discover this gorgeous cookbook filled with some of my top treats from the ever changing menu! As an avid home cook and cookbook lover, there is plenty in here to keep me occupied both visually and also in the kitchen. The wide variety of recipes runs the gamut from very simple to more complicated. It sounds like a cliche, but there is truly something for everyone in here, including you tripe-lovers out there.

I liked that there is a mix of familiar Italian dishes (linguine & clams) and unusual ones (rabbit tonello with raw broad beans). The book covers the diversity of Italian cooking well and each recipe makes mention of the region it's from. Banish all memories of sacrilegious marina-laden/creamy craggy soggy pastas. This book promises to introduce you to a fresh (as in new to our palates) & exciting way to discover real Italian food. Most importantly of all, everything sounds delicious!

The photography is beautiful, as is the prose. Honest, intelligent and from the heart(h).

Sharing his beloved recipes for anyone to replicate speaks volumes about the generosity of the man and chef.

Bravo!
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on 11 October 2011
What a beautiful book. The restaurant (If you can get in) is a wonderful place - an interesting concept, where they serve lots of regional dishes (That are in season) in small or regular plate sizes. It's a bit like an Italian version of Tapas. The photography is great - quirky and evocative images, alongside simple illustrations of the food. However, the print quality is not the best. It looks flat and lacks sharpness on many pages. This is probably due to printing on recycled paper - I have seen this result before when books and brochures are printed using recycled or mixed source papers; a matt finish that looks 'organic' - highly commendable and 'green' - but print quality does suffer.
Of course if you lived in Italy you would have access to all the wonderful ingredients to make these dishes, but not so much in Britain, despite offering a website that gives names of suppliers. If you are a real 'foodie' and have a well stocked kitchen and Italian Deli around the corner - this is the book for you. For people who love italy and Italian food, it's still a lovely book to have on your kitchen shelf.
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on 10 December 2011
Although I have a couple of Italian cookery books I find this book on Italian food truly excellent as far as I am concerned. Fortunately I can buy most of the ingredients here in Scotland and the recipes that I have tried so far have been absolutely brilliant. This book would also make an excellent gift to anyone interested in Italian food.
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on 16 June 2011
This is quite simply the most beautiful, intelligent and practical cookbook I have ever seen. From the first page, it set my taste-buds tingling, my mouth salivating, my body wrapt in anticipation of the aromatic, strong yet subtle tastes of Italian food at its very best and most creative, traditional regional dishes each with the author's own original twist. Jacob Kenedy's book starts with the simplest of raw ingredients and, with the wave of a magic wand he turns each dish into a masterpiece. I have tasted his wonderful creations many times in his restaurant - in this cookbook he lays bare all his secrets with unequalled candour and generosity (there is easily enough content for two cookbooks here), sharing anecdotes from his own fascinating background, his views on food and life, memories of zucchini flowers eaten at the edge of a volcano, even the card-game "posso". In the dedication, food is seen as the music of love. I (a musician) certainly love this wonderful food!
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