Cucina Paradiso: The Heavenly Food of Sicily

Clifford A. Wright, Author Simon & Schuster $24.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-76926-0
Researched by Middle East scholar and food enthusiast Wright ( After the Palestine-Israel War ), this fascinating volume clarifies the mystifying distinction between the cooking of Sicily and other regions of Italy. The reason for the distinction--as he convincingly presents it--was the medieval conquest of Sicily by Arabs whose ``culture remained there intact for four hundred years.'' According to Wright, the Arabs are responsible for, among other things, the creation of the Sicilian ``one-pot'' meal, a ``fondness for stuffed foods . . . shared by the Sicilians,'' and the introduction of rice, of which ``some food writers even argue that the famous Risotto alla Milanese is an Arab-Sicilian invention transplanted north.'' The resulting collection of recipes reflects Sicily's exotic heritage and includes a mint-infused, Arab-style penne, grilled beef rolls with pecorino, currants and pine nuts and watermelon pudding studded with semisweet chocolate bits, pistachios and candied orange peel. This suggestive study of ``the food Sicilians call cucina arabo-sicula '' decorously removes another delicious layer of Italy's riches. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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