Naked Chef , may have been born in Southend-on-Sea, but he turns out to have an Italian soul in this collection of recipes from all over "/>

Jamie's Italy

Jamie Oliver, Author, David Loftus, Photographer, Chris Terry, Photographer . Hyperion $34.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0195-8

Oliver, television's Naked Chef , may have been born in Southend-on-Sea, but he turns out to have an Italian soul in this collection of recipes from all over the Boot. As an outsider, Oliver has great reverence for the traditions of Italy, and he offers some surprisingly deep insight about how a lack of choice and a massive working-class population have kept those traditions alive. This is no sugar-coated fairy tale, however: Oliver doesn't hesitate to get down-and-dirty, as in a description of Palermo street food served by hand from a "chain-smoking, dirty-looking bloke," and he cogently explains why he insisted on including a "graphic and gruesome" photo of a slaughtered sheep. Indeed, Oliver enthusiastically encourages British and American readers to familiarize themselves with foods less common in their home countries such as rabbit. Nonna Giusy's Fish with Couscous reflects the African influences of Sicily, and Altamura Pea Soup with fresh peas and broken spaghetti perfectly represents the Italian genius for making something out of almost-nothing. Desserts include a simple Pear Sorbet with grappa. Candid photos such as one of Oliver's mentor's father, a 96-year-old who cooks for himself every day reinforce the personal feel of this collection, and the impression that Oliver has a deep affinity for Italian food, no matter his British roots. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 08/07/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
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