The Flavors of Sicily: Stories, Traditions, and Recipes for Warm-Weather Cooking

Anna Lanza, Author Clarkson N Potter Publishers $30 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-70079-2
This small gem of a book occasionally covers some of the same ground as Lanza's The Heart of Sicily, but it doesn't suffer for it. The chapters are organized by month, from March through September, and each month begins with a description of several holidays, traditions and foods associated with it. Some of these associations are expected (e.g., Holy Week in April), but most are delightfully personal (e.g., Lanza visits the island of Pantelleria each year in June, so this month is dedicated to the famed capers, pastries and other foods of this small, rocky island). The recipes reflect Sicily's bounty of fresh vegetables and fish: Poached Sea Bass; Frittata with Bitter Greens; Rice Salad with Tomatoes, Tuna and Capers. There are also plenty of rich pastries, and these tend to be more labor-intensive. Pastry Peaches, for instance, are made by shaping the dough around walnut shell halves, then detaching them after baking and affixing two halves to each other with whipped cream to create each ""peach."" The recipes are fine, but the charm is in the background material. Readers will envy the pleasure Lanza and family enjoy when opening and drinking the wine her husband's grandfather started collecting in 1880, just before Europe's vineyards were ravaged by blight. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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