Italian Cooking Sicilian Style
Editors of Phaidon
Phaidon Press, $39.95, 272 pages
This beautiful, extravagantly produced book may be the centerpiece of your coffee table, though you will likely borrow it when you feel like Italian for dinner. Sicily is an Italian cookbook, though the food and cooking of this island is rather distinct. Easily accessible by sea-going conquerors, Sicily has often been occupied, leaving both foods and cooking styles of the conquerors imposed on Sicilian cooking. This book has no single author, but was instead compiled by the editors of high-end British publisher, Phaidon. Every recipe is illustrated with full-page, high-quality photographs, and many double-spread photos of striking Sicilian scenes were added as bonus.
“In the following collection of recipes, Sicily’s traditional dishes will transport you to a world of simple preparations, colourful ingredients and rich, complex flavours.”
The recipes are targeted to British cooks, but American units are next to the metric measurements. The British food terminology is clarified for American cooks in parentheses, as well. Each of the nine chapters covers one of the nine Sicilian provinces, with a brief introduction explaining the foods and cooking of that province. A convenient list of recipes (in Italian and English) precedes the chapters. In addition, many nice, short discussions are scattered throughout (on pulses, anchovies, pistachios). The recipes are well written, providing both preparation and cooking times. Ingredients (with some exception) should be readily available, and the book’s index is very good.
Reviewed by George Erdosh