Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:14 pm Post subject: Your impressions of the Silver Spoon Cookbook?
By now the non-Italian speakers on this blog have heard that the famous Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon has been translated into English! Have any of you bought it? What are your impressions, especially of the baking and desserts section? Before I invest, I am just curious if it will be a good addition to my vast and under-explored cookbook collection. Please share your opinions. _________________ Thank you,
Joined: 17 May 2005 Posts: 87 Location: Madison WI
Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:55 pm Post subject:
My sister sent me one for Xmas. The recipes seems pretty genuine when compared to my actual (bought in Italy) Italian cookbooks, but it is so huge I find it a bit daunting. Plus I need 2 hands to heft it! _________________ "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 Posts: 2498 Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:35 pm Post subject:
I bought it a couple months ago but I'm ashamed to say I've only used it for gnocchi. ...but then I haven't been cooking much for quite a while.
Have you got a Costco near you? They're selling it for $25 or $29 which is extraordinary for a book of this size and reputation. List price is $39.99 US. _________________ God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
Joined: 25 Feb 2006 Posts: 81 Location: Cedar Creek, Qld, Australia
Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:15 am Post subject: Re: Your impressions of the Silver Spoon Cookbook?
By now the non-Italian speakers on this blog have heard that the famous Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon has been translated into English! Have any of you bought it?
Yes, I saw it in the bookstore the other day while buying a copy of "Moorish" by Greg & Lucy Malouf for my Mother. (Great book by the way).
What are your impressions, especially of the baking and desserts section?
My very first impression, it's big (and heavy - this becomes apparent very quickly if you have to walk with it any great distance, for instance taking it home on the train).
But, apart from that it seems to be
b) fairly thorough (there's 50 pages of egg recipes alone)
c) easy to understand and follow
So far I've only made Macaroni Gratinati (basicly cheesy macaroni, but it was a treat for the kidlets), and Uova in cocotte ai porri (caramelised leeks in a ramkin topped with an egg and baked), and custard (but I modified the recipe, so maybe that doesn't count).
The dessert sections (yes more than one) seem quite adequate although I haven't yet found a recipe for cannolli (?) but I haven't had time to really look for it either.
Baking wise, there's a decent biscuit section but not much on breads.
I'd say that it was worth the $70 I paid for it (that's Australian pesos^H^H^H Dollars).
Joined: 23 Nov 2004 Posts: 450 Location: a Dutchie in HongKong
Posted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 9:26 am Post subject:
As it is my b-day today and my best firend gave me the Silver Spoon cookbook yesterday as a present, I thought it's time to re-open this thread.
It looks beautiful and fun to read on the couch
Any favourite recipes I should start with?
Joined: 01 Oct 2004 Posts: 256 Location: Richmond, VA, usa
Posted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:25 pm Post subject:
Cheers Swan.....yes, look for this book at Costoc....saves big bucks! I got it for an Italy loving neighbor for Xmas....now I want one, but they r no longer at Costco (boo) _________________ Make me half the person my dog thinks I am.
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 Posts: 307 Location: Far, far away
Posted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 7:57 pm Post subject:
Someone who owns the book and cooks from it frequently should speak up. I am writing only with the impressions I got from reading book reviews, publicity and picking the thing up to look through at bookstores. For someone who is not fluent in Italian, but building up a library of cookbooks, especially of historic interest, it's good to own.
Italian cooking is essentially home-cooking. This, coupled with the numbers of Italians who emigrated to the U.S. to open pizza parlors and manufacture spaghetti and tomato sauce, is the reason it's so popular with Americans and disparaged by food snobs. Fans think it's yummy, mostly easy to prepare; only things involving dough require the mastery of skills. Once you've access to the highest quality of ingredients, including some of Italy's best imports, you can probably put together great meals. "Silver Spoon" would help in that it is about home cooking and the recipes are short.
This is really a digression, but the counter-argument goes: it's not innovative, not a growing, creative cuisine like those of Spain and France. Not a home of truly great chefs with vision. The glories of the great, wealthy courts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance are as vital to Italian cuisine as they are to that of France, for example, but with the exception of the introduction of new-world ingredients (tomato, etc.), the dishes have not changed as much as those of France in the age of Napoleon and the emergence of the modern restaurant goes one complaint. The Nouvelle Cuisine embraced and altered at El Buli has no outstanding counterparts in Italy.
Because of the emphasis Alice Waters and other noteable Californians place on fresh, perfect ingredients, Italian food has nonetheless been behind innovations in American restaurants. Then, of course, there is the fact that Marcella Hazan published her books in English when she changed careers upon moving to the States. (I don't know enough about the UK, except to say there was Anna Conte before River Café, etc.) Hazan published her books at the right time and they surpassed the sale of translations of the cookbooks Ada Boni published in English. I am not aware of a single Italian cookbook written by a celebrated Italian in Italian that has made a mark on the cooking of Italian food in English-speaking countries.
Italians complain about this. Many call the Italian food in the U.S. inauthentic. Hazan altered recipes to accommodate lack of access to a wide range of Italian items back in the 1970s & early 80s. Mario Batali is thanked for publicizing regional foods, but he gussies it up to the point that dishes are his vs. traditional, and so forth.
So, SILVER SPOON is good because it is the first Italian book written by Italians for Italians to use that is selling like hotcakes in the English-speaking world. Moreover, it offers recipes written by the women for the women. "Anonymous was a woman," is an important feminist saying. Professional male chefs get recognition, but not your Italian grandmother. Well, here are her recipes!
1) Some critics say the book would be better if editors didn't become marketers. It's not a literal translation. It's been altered to suit the alleged preferences of Americans, with additions by Mario Batali, for example. So it's a hatchet job. It's not nonna.
2) It's like THE JOY OF COOKING, written by a woman--or women-- joyless in the kitchen. Ho hummy. Not a single vision.
Were I completely without a general Italian cookbook, I'd get the Essentials....by Marcella Hazan first, and Lynne Rossetto Kapser's Splendid Table....second. There's more to say, but I've said too much for someone who doesn't own the book. Check out an earlier thread on Italian cookbooks. It doesn't offer the latest (Giorgio Locatelli, dot dot dot...), but has varied opinions.
Joined: 16 May 2006 Posts: 456 Location: california
Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:31 am Post subject:
Excellent analysis, Deste. I don't own this book, but if I'm tempted to buy it, I'll reread your suggestions carefully.
For those of you contemplating purchase and not living near a Costco, Amazon (US) offers it for $26+change. Since it's more than $25, that qualifies it for free shipping (and no tax).
As to Italian cookbooks, I do love Marcella Hazan's books and find myself going to them frequently for "the final word". Giuliano Bugiallo's books are also excellent and certainly authentically Italian. For the bakers in the group, check out Carol Field's "The Italian Baker". A great resource.
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