|Over 50 years ago Domus, an Italian architectural magazine, commissioned a team of cooking experts to travel across Italy. Their mission was to gather traditional recipes from different regions of Italy for a cookbook. The result of this undertaking was The Silver Spoon (Il Cucchiaio d’Argento in Italian). Long considered a classic in Italy, this cookbook has never been available in English, until now.
The people at Phaidon Press have undertaken the mammoth task of translating this volume for English speaking audiences. However, they have not just done a straight translation, they have actually gone through all of the recipes and updated them for contemporary methods, measurements and ingredients. In addition they have added menus from modern chefs such as Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich. The result is a truly impressive cookbook that holds up to contemporary standards, yet still retains the authenticity of the traditional Italian recipes within.
“Eating is a serious matter in Italy,” as is declared in the opening sentence, and at over 1000 pages with more than 2000 recipes, this is a serious cookbook. A book this large could easily become unwieldy, but Phaidon made it easy to navigate by grouping recipes into color coded categories such as vegetables, pasta, risotto, meat, etc. The list of recipes and comprehensive index in the back of the book also make it easy to find whatever you are looking for.
The Silver Spoon is a beautifully illustrated book that would be very comfortable on a coffee table, but don’t think for a second that it will sit there to gather dust. You will definitely find yourself turning to this book for recipes and inspiration time and again. From classic Italian dishes that we are all familiar with like Saltimbocca alla Romana, Spaghetti Carbonara and Chicken Cacciatore to lesser known regional specialties such as Pasta with Sardines, Carpaccio Cipriani or Black Risotto with Cuttlefish, you are sure to find a recipe suitable to any occasion or whim.
Tying a great book up with a perfect ending is the final chapter of menus by celebrated Italian chefs from around the world. Not only does this provide us with additional recipes from these respected chefs, but also it gives us insight on how to pull together different dishes to create a perfectly planned menu. The Silver Spoon is truly a pleasure to read and anybody at all interested in Italian food and cooking should already be clearing space on their bookshelves for this beautiful and practical classic.
Publisher: Phaidon Press, 2005
Hardcover: 1264 pages
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