cover image How Italian Food Conquered the World

How Italian Food Conquered the World

John F. Mariani, foreword by Lidia Bastianich, Palgrave Macmillan, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-230-10439-6

Mariani, author of The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink and the food and wine correspondent for Esquire magazine, makes a declarative statement in this fact-filled, entertaining history and substantiates it with hundreds of facts in this meaty history of the rise of Italian food culture around the globe. From Charles Dickens's journey through Italy in 1844 to 20th-century immigrants to America selling ice cream on the streets of New Orleans, Mariani constantly surprises the reader with little-known culinary anecdotes about Italy and its people, who have made pasta and pizza household dishes in the U.S. and beyond. Mariani's heavy emphasis on specific chefs and restaurant owners in the latter half of the book may tire your average reader, but foodies will delight as he details the rise and fall of French cuisine during the 1980s and '90s as trattorias eventually take the States by storm. Mariani includes many recipes throughout. (Mar.)