The Silver Spoon
Phaidon Press. Phaidon Press, $49.95 (1264pp) ISBN 978-0-7148-4531-9
Featuring over 2,000 recipes among its 1,200-plus pages, it's easy to see why this Italian version of The Joy of Cooking, billed as ""the bible of authentic Italian cooking,"" is a popular wedding gift. Newly updated and translated into English for the first time, the book contains recipes for everything from basic sauces and marinades to salads, game, fish and baked goods, with each section color-coded for easy browsing. Recipes emphasize fresh ingredients and are to-the-point, typically summed up in a paragraph sans photo illustrations. Those who know their way around a kitchen will appreciate the brevity, but a novice might encounter some frustration when making pasta dishes featuring homemade gnocchi or orecchiette without a more in-depth description or the aid of photos. Almost all of the ingredients called for can be found in a typical supermarket, though more exotic dishes such as Eel with Savoy Cabbage, Woodcock with Truffle, or Calf's Head Salad will require some planning. Globe-trotting gourmands will appreciate the menu and ""signature dish"" contributions by famous Italian chefs that round out the book. The most exhaustive Italian cookbook in recent memory, this volume offers something for every cook, regardless of their skill level, and deserves to be a fixture in American kitchens.
Reviewed on: 10/03/2005