by Deirdre Heekin, Caleb Barber
Husband and wife author team and proprietors of the Pane E Salute café in Woodstock, Vt., Heekin and Barber made a pilgrimage to Italy soon after they were married, returning with recipes and voluminous travelogues. They share both in this neat little cookbook, providing easy-to-follow recipes for the simple but lovely dishes that are Italian cuisine’s hallmark, alongside essays about life in Lombardy or Tuscany. The recipes are arranged according to season: spring presents, for example, the effortless Asparagi alla Milanese (asparagus with fried eggs) and the savory Costolette d’Agnello con Caprino (lamb chops with fresh goat cheese), while fall offers La Trota all’ Erbe Gresche (trout with fresh herbs) and Torta di Mela (apple cake). While this conceit has the charms of underlining cooking’s connection to nature, it’s slightly bothersome to have to thumb through the entire book to uncover the full catalog of desserts. But that’s a minor complaint in what is, overall, a winning and well-written volume full of honest Italian cooking and memories.