On the move again, Bianchi (From the Tables of Tuscan Women) here travels the Garfagnana, a remote area of Northern Tuscany where rugged mountain terrain and hearty soups ""go together."" She offers regional food and local lore at the beginning of each chapter to introduce the reader to the traditional peasant culture, a backdrop she considers integral to appreciating the recipes that follow. Nine chapters focus on specific types of soups, e.g., broths, meat, fish, cream, vegetable, bean and grain, including the unusual farro, a native grain now ""rediscovered by trendy Italians."" Capturing a lifestyle are such recipes as Zuppa alla Boscaiola (Woodcutter's Soup) which simmers wild mushrooms that have been sauteed in pork fatback in meat broth and adds, just before serving, an egg beaten with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Zuppa alla Frantoiana (Soup Olive Presser Style) is a bean soup cooked with bread, herbs and 13 additional vegetables, all of which is passed through a food mill and served over more bread with a drizzle of fresh olive oil. Drawing recipes and her narrative from visits with home cooks, bus drivers, butchers, restaurant owners and others, Bianchi imbues this collection with what seems an uncommon authenticity and with an undeniable, irresistible enthusiasm for these hearty dishes and the tradition they represent. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996 Release date: 10/01/1996 Genre: Nonfiction
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