Thursday, August 8, 2013

Artusi's cookbook for $1.64!

This definitely made my day. I discovered the major historical classic of Italian cooking, Pellegrino Artusi's La Scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiare bene (1891), for $1.64 as a Kindle download from Amazon. It's true that this book was already available online, as it has long been out of copyright. But the convenience of having it on Kindle makes all the difference. (Note that even if you don't have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle downloads with just a free Kindle app.) (No, I am not on the take from Amazon.)

It has oodles and oodles of recipes, basic and not so basic. It also has an engaging, chatty style. For example, as noted earlier in this blog, he personally enjoins the humble meatloaf (polpettone) to come forward and take its rightful place among the more elegant dishes. The Italian used is old-fashioned, of course, but accessible if you have a good mastery of the language. It is invaluable for getting a handle on the difficult task of establishing what is and what isn't Italian cuisine. Do note, if you're actually going to try out the recipes here (and you probably should- I am), that in typical Italian style, they assume that you already know what you're doing. The instructions are consequently vague and imprecise.

I look forward to perusing this for pleasure and reading it for historical insight. Above all, I'll try my hand at many recipes, adapting and experimenting along the way. Of course, I'll report back on my blog about my discoveries in the next few weeks or months.