Saturday, October 24, 2009
Venezia: Food & Dreams
79. Venezia: Food & Dreams, by Tessa Kiros
In this culinary love letter to and about Venice, Tessa Kiros has gathered traditional Veneziani recipes for your delectation. Obviously, it's heavy on seafood, with many recipes for sardines, octopus, scampi, etc. The recipes are easy to follow, and before each she gives a little description of the dish or the process, or gives a serving suggestion. Her language is delightful; instead of telling you to cook the radicchio until it is soft, she says "until it surrenders its hardness".
Equal time must be given to the photographer and the book designer. The book is chock-ful of gorgeous color and black-and-white photographs of Venice and of the food. And, as an object, the book itself must be described. Heavy, with gilded edges and a wide black velvet book marker, it will definitely not be used in my kitchen. And that's one of the drawbacks. It's one thing to drip some oil or chocolate on my battered copy of The Joy of Cooking or Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but this one is far to elaborate to expose to the vicissitudes of la cucina. In addition, the American cook will likely find it difficult to locate some of the ingredients. Even in Chicago, with a good produce store down the street, I can't recall ever having seen radicchio di Treviso.
But never mind. I shall curl up with this book and a glass of Prosecco from time to time, and dream of returning to Venice, and the best sea bass I've ever had: