Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Easy? Not entirely. Tasty? Certainly. Italian? Not entirely.
on 11 November 2009
There's actually a very good cookbook fighting to get out here from under the weight of an excruciatingly irritating manner and overly chi-chi style.
The irritating manner can be demonstrated by the example of Santtini's discussion of the umami flavour. She christens the use of umami in Italian cooking as "U-Mamma!" (sic), which coinage she then proceeds to use at frequent intervals throughout the rest of the book.
It's not exactly authentic traditional Italian; ingredients used include Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, barberries, pomegranates, sumac, chemoula, Szechuan pepper, soy sauce, green tea and so on and so forth. A number of recipes even include edible gold or silver leaf (like the "vark" of Moghul cooking); sensibly the small print on the copyright page says "This is a suggestion and not a recommendation, and the use and consumption of such metals is at your own risk. Neither the author nor the publisher accept any liability for any illness, harm or injury arising from the use or consumption of such metals". Moghul emperors wanted to demonstrate their wealth but I'm not sure that I would want to eat such heavy metals.
One of the best parts of the book is the section with numerous recipes for various flavoured mayonnaises, pestos, salsas and relishes, trifolati, flavoured butters, marinades, rubs, pastes, "elixirs" (oils and sauces), crumbs and stuffings and so on, many of which are used in the later recipes.
This is a book packed with ideas and sophisticated flavours, and will be of immense use not just for Italian food lovers. Just a pity about the style.