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« In the press | Main | A short break: off to Emilia Romagna »

March 01, 2005

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savina

I think Allan Bay's book is one of the most overrated editorial events of the past few years. His writing and his explanations are at times unclear, unnecessarily detailed and frankly boring and pompous and at others, on the opposite, taking too much for granted. This dislike of mine might be the cause, but not one of his recipes I tried has smoothly turned into a satisfying dish!

Alberto

savina, I absolutely share your opinion in regards to Bay being pompous, pretentious and at times just plain boring. I bought the book because of all the clamor around it, and was at least slightly disappointed. I would therefore agree with him being overrated. On the other hand I did cook a few dishes from his book with success. That is not to say they were great, but I found the recipes easy to follow and the result fine. There's much sadder examples of cookbooks in Italy, like the Slow Food recipe collections: almost every recipe has one or more ingredient amounts which are plain wrong. BTW, my ossobuco recipe is not from Bay's book, rather a mix of many different recipes.

cucina testa rossa

what a perfect dish for a cold snowy day! i know what i'm making for dinner tonight, especially since it's *still* snowing in paris...not enough to have a snowball fight but cold enough to snow!

savina

yes, I gathered you hadn't followed his recipe, I just wanted to vent and to know if you shared my impression. I didn't try many of his proposals, maybe just a couple, certainly the apple cake which I tried for a change from my usual perfectly satisfying one, with appalling results. It's maybe just the impatience his writing causes which somehow has very bad effects on my cooking, on the other hand patience is certainly one of the cardinal virtues in the kitchen, I believe. When you spek of gambero rosso I hope you don't mean la cucina di casa by annalisa barbagli, which I think is perfect for many ordinary & delicious Italian everyday dishes. And BTW, I have the impression that Italian book trade is very weak on cookbooks compared to other nations'. Do you have an explanation for that?

Alberto

savina, I didn't mention Anaalisa Barbagli's book anywhere. I was talking of the books edited by Slow Food (their various "ricette delle osterie di..."): their recipes can be great and then terribly frustrating in the same book.

You make an interesting point about Italian cookbooks, but I'm not sure if you're asking why Italians books are poorly made or why they sell little. My impression is that Italian publishers, with maybe a few exceptions, have seldom invested in a seriously made cookbook: with that I mean books where recipes are tested a few times by independent cooks before being published, with serious editing and fact checking, if any then great pictures (a few would be enough), and, most of all, well written so to make it interesting beyond the recipes. Maybe the scarcity of such books would answer the second hypothetical question too.

girly

i've always found it ironic that americans have such a nice variety of cookbooks to choose from with our appalling eating habits, but maybe that's why. we have no reason to think we know better than some foody hack. where italians...

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