"There remains a central difference between home cooking—comfort food—and professional cooking," notes Croce (The Classic Italian Cookbook). "Cucina casalinga is casual and relaxed, designed to sustain the body and uplift the spirit." The James Beard-award winner puts her money where her mouth is with a lively focus on the sustaining, casual, even homely appetizers, pastas, entrees, and desserts discovered during her time in Italy or handed down from her Italian antecedents. Christopher Hirsheimer's sensuous photography makes recipes as diverse as Carrot and Fennel Soup and "Angry" Lobsters pop off the page. Wide-ranging enough to be comprehensive yet focused enough to be selective, Croce organizes her effort into 10 chapters, ranging from "Welcoming Dishes," like Sage Leaves and Zucchini Blossoms or her Pissaladella pizza-like flatbread, to "For the Love of Vegetables," such as Potatoes Schiscionera from Sardinia, to the especially notable "Baby's First Food," making it a great choice for parents. Croce often brings family lore into the mix, reminding readers that her knowledge comes from the source: Italians cooking authentic Italian food. Her latest is a keeper. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/15/2010 Release date: 10/01/2010 Genre: Nonfiction
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