" It's the marvelous month of March, and my latest episode features a wonderful book set in Renaissance Italy that is filled to the joyous brim with luscious food descriptions, a forbidden love, and a secret that brings to mind The DaVinci Code. I am also interviewing the book's author, the wonderful and talented Crystal … Continue reading Episode 5, Season 2 of “Cooking The Books” Podcast Now Available!
Un uomo mediterraneo. Doesn't that have the loveliest ring to it? It translates from the Italian to "a Mediterranean man" but it means so much more than that bland phrase. Un uomo mediterraneo is elegant, dapper, romantic, tips his hat to ladies, dresses immaculately, does not rush through life but rather meanders joyfully, enjoys all … Continue reading The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga
This is one of those epic books that feature a cast of thousands, exotic locations that span the globe, stories within stories within stories............and Count Dracula. I mean, how can it possibly get better than that? Being a former Goth girl, I still have a fondness for the darker side of things. Vampires, crucifixes, ghosts, … Continue reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Do you remember last year when the author Crystal King asked me to contribute an original recipe to the companion cookbook that was published in conjunction with her novel The Chef's Secret? Well, her book AND a select few of the recipes in the companion cookbook were recently translated into Italian and my recipe was … Continue reading My recipe translated into Italian!
This book is hilariously funny, riffing satirically on those chick-lit memoirs from the early 2000s in which a heroine ends up living abroad, usually Italy or France, renovates a house, learns to cook, falls in love, and finds herself, though not necessarily in that order. The book Under The Tuscan Sun is referenced often, but … Continue reading Cooking With Fernet-Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson
Having had a long-time love affair with the books of Daphne DuMaurier, I was especially pleased to find a compilation of stories that included Don't Look Now. The story, set in Venice, which is my favorite city on earth, combines creepy supernatural elements with the gorgeous backdrop of La Serennissima. The basic story is a … Continue reading Don’t Look Now by Daphne DuMaurier
You can almost feel the Italian heat baking down, and smell the bougainvillea flowers, as you read this evocative novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley. Tom Ripley is a young man from New York, struggling to make something of himself. He's approached by Mr. Greenleaf who mistakes him for a close college friend of his son, Dickie, … Continue reading The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
I don't screw up in the kitchen much, so when I do, it's usually in a spectacular fashion. Today was no different, and I think it must be the universe's way of getting back at me for daring to read some total fluffy, smutty trash. But it's set in Italy, I told myself as I … Continue reading A Roman Tale by Carroll Baker
The Last Supper, that immortal painting by the equally immortal Leonardo da Vinci, always fascinated me, even as a child. Just looking at it takes you into that world, sitting beside Jesus, watching the disciples react to the news he would soon die, and noticing the amazing details of the work itself. Reading The Secret Supper … Continue reading The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra
Historical fiction is probably my favorite genre in the world, and anything set in my spirit country of Italy even more so. This marvelous book, The Chef's Secret, not only meets both of those criteria, but it's also about FOOD! And FORBIDDEN LOVE! and MYSTERY! And MORE FOOD! OK, I'll calm down now, but you … Continue reading The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King