The Sicily Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from a Mediterranean Island

Cettina Vicenzino. DK, $30 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4654-9110-7
Sicilian-born, German-raised writer Vicenzino beautifully captures Sicily’s traditions and quirks with stunning images and insightful text in her U.S. debut. Biographical sketches of Sicilians tie the recipes together: for example, Elvira, who owns a bed-and-breakfast in Agrigento, explains how her mother makes jarred tomato puree and from that the intense extract known as strattù which in turn appears in a pasta recipe from the mayor of Palermo. A few items—such as almonds used in cinnamon-scented meatballs and a blancmange pudding—are treated to contextual histories. Recipes are specific and include suggestions for the type of olive oil and the preferred eggplant variety for the island’s signature pasta alla norma. Unsurprisingly for the cuisine of an island “embraced by three seas,” main courses rely heavily on seafood, and the sea seeps into other areas as well, such as a side dish of potatoes cooked in seawater. Dessert options include a cassata torte and a strawberry granita. The author notes that “a cookbook is not supposed to be a substitute for a country and its flavors” and instead is meant to “evoke a cooking culture” and inspire readers to learn more. This volume easily succeeds as an inspiring introduction to the flavors of Sicily. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/25/2020
Release date: 04/14/2020
Genre: Lifestyle
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