and Lorenza De’ Medici
Italy Today, the Beautiful Cookbook is the third volume on Italian cooking to join the popular Beautiful series of large format, lavishly illustrated books from HarperCollins. It is more than just a pretty book to set on the coffee table; this is a book cooks will enjoy and one that makes good reading if you are planning a trip to Italy.
Fred Plotkin’s text covers the history, economy, and particular ingredients important in each of Italy’s culinary regions. He also explains how changes in the way Italians live are affecting how they eat. Meals, for example, now follow the traditional structure less rigidly in most parts of the country, with the southern areas holding closest to the old ways. Also, while cooking in Italy is still remarkably regional, people are enjoying recipes less tied to their locality. Use of fresh and local ingredients, however, remains strong.
The recipes are by Lorenza De’ Medici, who also did the food for Italy, the Beautiful Cookbook and Tuscany, the Beautiful Cookbook. Here she offers 220 dishes. Some show how Italians are modifying classics; others illustrate the living quality of Italian cooking in its acceptance of new ingredients and in new ways of using familiar ones. Perfect examples of this are Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint and Rice Salad with Pesto. Beyond all the handsome photographs, this is a source cooks really can use.