Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti
A wonderful collection of over 150 recipes for conserves, pickles, infusions, sauces, which capture the flavours of Italy. It is beautifully presented with a personal note to introduce each recipe, suggestions for how to use what you preserve, comprehensive instructions and illustrated with excellent photographs. The book also includes recipes for making cheese, curing meats, infusing liqueurs and some confectionary.
Domenica grew up in an Italian family. Her mother is a native of Chieti, Abruzzo. Consequently, she and her sister were shaping gnocchi and ravioli by the time they could see over the kitchen counter. Her father’s parents were from Molise and Lazio. They spent their summers travelling all around Italy when she was growing up.
I love all recipe books but this one has an honest and simple authenticity, written not just from a love of food but to uncover and preserve recipes which have been handed down through the generations such as lemon infused olive oil, sweet and sour peppers, her grandmother’s amarene, sour cherries preserved in alcohol. There are many Abruzzo specific recipes and others, personally collected from the authors travels across the regions of Italy.
Why I recommend this book
This is a recipe book with a difference. One on level, there is a historical narrative as the author describes the ancient art and craft of preserving food in oils, vinegars and alcohol. Seasonal ingredients can be savoured all year round if they are preserved. Italians are masters at such resourcefulness. On another level is the sense of fulfilment. There is something so comforting in food, particularly when that food evokes happy childhood memories. The quest to recreate her grandmother’s liquor-soaked cherries was the start of her passion to uncover and share these techniques.
“When you open the pages of this book, I want you to feel you are opening the door to a beautifully stocked Italian pantry.”
Domenica is a former newspaper reporter with a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University. Her recipes and articles on Italian home cooking have been widely published in national publications across the USA. She is the author of seven books on Italian cooking:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers. Available on Amazon