Viva la Cucina Italiana, Long live the Italian Cooking!
by Joe Famularo
399 pages, soft cover, $22.95
Food appeals to most, if not all, of the senses. Eye appeal counts and reading through Viva la Cucina Italiana, there's a little regret that no pictures accompany any of the recipes. It would be nice to know how tantalizing the dishes would appear on the plate. However, many cookbooks that include absolutely gorgeous photography are better additions to the coffee table than the kitchen.
Author Joe Famularo has presented a volume that is much like Italian cooking itself—simple and satisfying. It's presented in straight forward style from antipasti through desserts. Each dish is defined in English, with its Italian name just below in italic type. Famularo, who was brought up in an Italian-American family in New York, later traveled extensively in Italy. Perhaps this background gives him a sense of how to include just enough—but not too much—of the provenance of each recipe for his American audience.
Numbered steps in the method of each preparation follow the list of ingredients. Directions tend toward the spare and seem clearer for their brevity. A reviewer who spends much of his time editing copy might cavil at some apparent typos, but these are minor in a cookbook that does such an outstanding job of exposing the cooking from many regions of Italy.
--reviewed by Dan Clarke