Book Reviews By Ace ♣

FEATURED FOOD & RECIPE BOOK NEWS & VIEWS REPORT: Buon Appetito: A Reading List on Italian Food

AceFoodDesk – Six stories to challenge your assumptions about one of the world’s most iconic cuisines.


Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Nov.11: 2023: Editor: Carolyn Wells – Copyeditor: Krista Stevens TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link

I came to this topic as an eater first. My partner and I fell in love through food. We met during the pandemic and got to know each other through long walks and home-cooked meals. On an early date, she put a glistening mound of pasta in front of me and I thought how lucky I was to have fallen for an Italian. (She was born and raised in Rome.)

Most Italians have a strident pride in their cuisine; a passion which occasionally verges on the maniacal. The food and beverage industry makes up a quarter of Italy’s GDP and a substantial portion of its tourist draw. Food is tightly bound with ideas of national identity and politicians often rely on a kind of gastronationalism. (When running for election, current Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni posted a video of herself making tortellini with a stereotypical Italian nonna.)

And it’s not just Italians who hold this enthusiasm—Italian cuisine is one of the most popular in the world. Home cooks love to prepare Italy’s dishes, and about one-eighth of restaurants in the U.S. serve Italian food. Shows like Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy and the Netflix series From Scratch highlight just how ravenous audiences are for luscious, almost erotic depictions of Italian food.

But in researching this list, I’ve learned that beneath the promotional language and tired clichés, Italian food has a complex and often contradictory history. Academics question the true origin of classic dishes like carbonara; migration from Italy to the U.S. makes it almost impossible to disentangle the two gastronomic traditions. 

Italians often obsess over this cultural purity. When Italian chef Gino D’Acampo appeared on morning television in the UK a decade ago, he was horrified by the suggestion that you could substitute ham in carbonara. “If my grandmother had wheels, she would have been a bike,” D’Acampo responded incredulously. The clip went viral, bolstering the stereotype that Italians can be fussy about their food. But the history of Italian cuisine—like the food of any nation—is a melting pot of influences.  

But what of the future? Migration patterns, together with demographic trends and climate change, mean that the cuisine must adapt. Since 2003, Europe has experienced an unprecedented number of heatwaves, prompting Italy’s largest farmers’ union to estimate that almost a third of national agricultural production is now threatened by climate change. Italian food—so rooted in tradition and adamant in its authenticity—will have to change. 

But for now, I’m excited to visit Rome for the holidays and soak up the city’s culinary delights: creamy cacio e pepe, indulgent layers of tiramisu, and moreish slices of pizza. I’ll photograph the food, luxuriate in it, and come home with a suitcase full of olive oil and cheese. This time, I hope to enjoy the food while knowing more about the context that underpins it. Like the best Italian dishes, this topic is rich with complexity and nuance. So please devour this collection of articles that complicate the understanding of Italian food and what it means both within Italy’s borders and beyond.

Everything I, an Italian, Thought I Knew About Italian Food is Wrong (Marianna Giusti, Financial Times, March 2023)

In this fascinating piece, Italian journalist Marianna Giusti aims to uncover the truth about classic Italian dishes like carbonara, tiramisu, and panettone—which are celebrated for their authenticity despite being relatively recent inventions. She speaks with older family members and friends from across Southern Italy, asking about the food they ate as children (lots of beans and potatoes) and how it contrasts with the food on menus today. 

Inaccuracies about the origins of Italian food may be considered harmless—if it wasn’t for how gastronationalism influences Italian politics and culture. She cites the example of the archbishop of Bologna, Matteo Zuppi, suggesting that pork-free “welcome tortellini” be added to the menu for the San Petronio feast. What was intended as a gesture of inclusion to communities that don’t eat pork, was slammed by far-right Lega party leader Matteo Salvini. “They’re trying to erase our history, our culture,” he said. To me, food is one of life’s great unifiers. I love to bring people together around food, but just as often, food is used to divide people. This piece made me reconsider what I thought I understood about Italian food and think critically about who and what is welcome at the table.

It’s all about identity,” Grandi tells me between mouthfuls of osso buco bottoncini. He is a devotee of Eric Hobsbawm, the British Marxist historian who wrote about what he called the invention of tradition. “When a community finds itself deprived of its sense of identity, because of whatever historical shock or fracture with its past, it invents traditions to act as founding myths,” Grandi says. 

There Is No Such Thing As Italian Food (John Last, Noema, December 2022)

In this provocatively-titled piece, journalist John Last examines how climate change and immigration patterns are changing food in Italy. It examines how ingredients from abroad and the labor of migrants were used to build one of the world’s most loved cuisines. It also cites a studythat found that the role of immigrants in Italy’s farming and culinary sectors has been systematically ignored. Italian food is often celebrated for connecting eaters with unadulterated, authentic cuisine. The reality is much more complicated. I enjoyed how this deeply-reported essay challenges ideas of culinary purity and questions who that narrative excludes. I was interested to read how Italy’s microclimates produce regional specialities, and how they will be forced to adapt due to climate change. If you’re curious about the future of Italian cuisine, this is the essay for you! It has also been anthologized in Best American Food Writing 2023 for its examination of how food shapes our culture.

It’s this obsessive focus on the intersection of food and local identity that defines Italy’s culinary culture, one that is at once prized the world over and insular in the extreme. After all, campanilismo might be less charitably translated as “provincialism” — a kind of defensive small-mindedness hostile to outside influence and change.

What the Hole Is Going On? The Very Real, Totally Bizarre Bucatini Shortage of 2020(Rachel Handler, Grub Street, December 2020)

The early months of the pandemic were characterized by lockdowns, widespread anxiety, and a national pasta shortage. In this funny, engaging piece written by the self-described “Bernstein of Bucatini,” I learned why some pasta shapes were especially difficult to find due to production challenges. This piece is an enjoyable, twisty romp that points to the sensual delight of pasta during a dark time. 

I’d like to go a step further and praise its innate bounciness and personality. If you boil bucatini for 50 percent of the time the box tells you to, cooking it perfectly al dente, you will experience a textural experience like nothing else you have encountered in your natural life. When cooked correctly, bucatini bites back. It is a responsive noodle. It is a self-aware noodle. In these times, when human social interaction carries with it the possible price of illness, bucatini offers an alternative: a social interaction with a pasta.

America, Pizza Hut, and Me (Jaya Saxena, Eater, March 2016)

I really enjoyed this thoughtful personal essay about a young girl’s obsession with Pizza Hut and the influence of food on her identity. The author questions her intersecting heritage: she’s a mixed kid with an Indian father and a white mother, a New Yorker who craves stuffed crusts in Pizza Hut rather than an “authentic” dollar slice, and a pre-teen who wants to eat “white food” while her family enjoys soupy dal and potatoes flavored with cumin and turmeric. This piece is also a useful primer on the history of Italians in America, tracing the path from “other” to mainstream acceptability. 

I was half Indian, half white, and all New Yorker. In simple assimilation calculus, going to Pizza Hut with my Indian grandparents in Fort Lee should have earned me points for eating in real life what the cool kids were eating in commercials. And yet, I was still a New Yorker: My ideal sense of self was white, but worldly, opinionated, and judgmental.

Finding Comfort and Escape in Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking(A. Cerisse Cohen, Lit Hub, November 2022)

I loved this essay about how the author learned to cook during the pandemic and the comfort she found in the reassuring, authoritative voice of Marcella Hazan. The piece vividly describes the flavors of Italian food (“mellow, gentle, comfortable”) and the solace found in cookbooks at a time of unprecedented uncertainty. Before learning to cook, the author considered it a domestic task inextricably linked with traditional notions of femininity and heterosexual marriage. But Hazan, who is widely considered to be the doyenne of Italian cuisine, teaches her that cooking for herself and her chosen family is an essential element of survival, not only literally but existentially. This essay brought me back to the early days of 2020. As the pandemic spiraled out of control, I found my equilibrium through brisk morning walks and the comfort of a pot bubbling on the stove. I still cook most days. Sometimes, it’s a pleasure. More often, it’s a chore. For me, this beautiful essay evoked the visceral, bodily demands of appetite and how satiating them can provide not just culinary satisfaction, but a feeling of peace and wellbeing.

Hazan helped me see that nourishing oneself, and sharing a family meal, is simply foundational. To privilege invention and labor outside the kitchen, but not inside it, is to play into patriarchal distinctions of value. 

Hazan herself was a cook, an educator, and an incredible creative success. She remains influential for many contemporary cooks. Her adoration of the anchovy—“Of all the ingredients used in Italian cooking, none produces headier flavor than anchovies. It is an exceptionally adaptable flavor”—foreshadows the long reign of Alison Roman. Her careful ideas about layering flavors and her scientific approach to the kitchen find their echoes in the methodologies of Samin Nosrat (who, in her blurb for the new book, also credits Hazan with beginning her obsession with the bay leaf).

Eating the Arab Roots of Sicilian Cuisine(Adam Leith Gollner, Saveur, March 2016)

My partner and I recently returned from a holiday in Sicily. The island is considered to be a melting pot of North African, Arab, French, Spanish, and other cultures—which for me, was best understood through the food. We enjoyed regional delicacies like deep-fried lasagne, cookies made with beef and chocolate, and cremolata, a sherbet-like dessert that originated in Arab cuisine. It was a delight to remember the trip while reading this mouth-watering travel essay which aims to disentangle how Italian and Arab culinary history mixes on the island. What begins as an academic question quickly becomes a catalog of exquisite meals as the author explores the island’s rich, colonial past through its food. He traces the ingredients that are core to Italian cuisine—including the durum wheat used to make pasta—to migrants who arrived on Sicily’s shores and “gifted this land with what’s sometimes known as Cucina Arabo-Siculo.”

Sicily has had so many conquerors, and there’s simply no way to pull apart all the intermingling strands of culture in order to ascertain what is precisely “Italian” and what’s “Arab” and what’s not anything of the kind. At a certain point—ideally sometime after having a homemade seafood couscous lunch in Ortigia and sampling the life-changing pistachio ice cream at Caffetteria Luca in Bronte—you have to give up trying to isolate the various influences and accept that countless aspects of life in Sicily have been informed by Arab culture in some way. It’s deep and apparent and meaningful, but it’s also a cloud of influence as dense and intangible as the lemon gelato sky that greeted me upon my arrival.

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and comment thank you

Food Recipes

FEATURED FOOD & RECIPE BOOK REPORT: Pork and ginger meatballs with broccolini and rice


AceFoodDesk says heres todays food recipe to enjoy with Kindness & Love XX A&M ..


Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Nov.10: 2023: ABC Everyday Food News: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link


Julia Busuttil Nishimura is a cook, author and teacher. Her work celebrates simple ingredients, seasonal produce and the joys of coming together at the table. She’s the author of three cookbooks, Ostro, A Year of Simple Family Food and Around the Table. Julia lives in Melbourne with her husband, Nori, and sons, Haruki and Yukito.

  1. 1.Preheat oven to 230°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. 
  2. 2.Trim the ends of the broccolini and halve any large stems lengthwise. Drizzle broccolini with olive oil and season with sea salt. Arrange on the tray and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until just beginning to colour. 
  3. 3.Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs by mixing the remaining meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Your hands are best for this. Make sure everything is really well incorporated and season lightly with salt and pepper. With slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into golfball-sized balls. Arrange amongst the broccolini on the tray and return to the oven to continue cooking for 8 minutes or until meatballs are just cooked through. 
  4. 4.While the meatballs are still cooking, combine all of the ingredients for the glaze in a small pot and simmer over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Brush the glaze onto the meatballs and cook for a further 2 minutes in the oven. 
  5. 5.Serve the meatballs and broccolini with steamed brown rice topped with spring onions, coriander, sesame seeds, a drizzle of sesame oil and a spoonful of chilli oil or sauce, if using. 

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and comment thank you





AceFoodDesk says here’s a yummy soup from the Vintage Kitchen with Kindness & Love XX A&M


Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Nov.09: 2023: Posted by Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen8 November 2023: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link

A balance of nature?


We changed the clocks this past weekend and that means sunset at 4:34 p.m. This is never happy news in my book. There had been some legislation proposed to keep us on Daylight Savings Time all year, but once again that seems to have fizzled out, so here we are, picking kids up from soccer practice in the dark, and yawning at 8 p.m.

Oddly, we did not get our first frost or freeze until Nov. 1 this year! For a cold climate like ours, that’s unlikely since we can expect that first drop in temps by the end of September. However, I guess it is a kind of balance since we had a hard freeze in mid-May that damaged a great deal of our apple blossoms and thus the crop. Even stranger, my roses are still blooming like it is mid-June, while just about everything else in the garden has succumbed to the cold snap. It must have been all that rain.

Spring bulb planting

Yesterday, my daughter helped me plant over a hundred spring bulbs – daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and some summer Stargazer lilies, one of my favorites. It was a balmy 55 degrees out, but extremely windy, so we worked efficiently and got the job done well before that early sunset. Other than a last cleanup of pulled weeds, the garden is ready for its winter nap.

A short satisfying simmer

I love a long-simmered soup that fills the house with tantalizing aromas. But after a lot of fresh air and hard work, we might want something a little faster that is still as satisfying.

Your choice

      This is a quick soup that is really good for you and full of flavor. Use any mushroom you like. Here, I used a mix of shiitake and oyster mushrooms grown locally, but crimini would be lovely here as well, even a humble button mushroom.

Add a little green

      If peas are in season, use them by all means. But they are available here such a short time, thawed frozen peas work fine. You could also chop up some snow peas or sugar snaps, or toss in some green beans if that’s what you have, which is what I used this time around, salvaged from the previous night’s dinner.

Quick noodles

      For a quick cook, I used the brown rice vermicelli that doesn’t really need to be cooked at all, it just softens in the hot broth. It’s ingredients are brown rice, rice bran, and tapioca. They are very thin, thus the quick cook. However, if you have a favorite noodle, toss them in halfway through the cooking time. Fresh noodles would be prefect here.

Mushroom and Miso Noodle Soup

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. assorted mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart mushroom or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed, or other veggie
  • 1 tbsp. dark miso
  • 4 to 8 oz. brown rice vermicelli noodles

       In a stock pot, heat the oil and add the mushrooms, onions, and carrot. Sauté until the onions have turned translucent, then add the garlic and ginger, letting them bloom for a minute or so. Season with lots of fresh pepper, then add the stock. Hold off on the salt until you add the miso and taste.

     Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the carrots are tender.

      Cut off the heat, remove a half-cup or so of the broth and mix in the miso so there will be no salty lumps. Add it back to the pot along with the peas and noodles. Cover and let sit for a few minutes so the noodles can soften. Taste for salt and pepper.

You can dress this up any way you like, but it is pretty delicious as is, with perhaps a slice of hearty bread.8 November 2023. The leaves are mostly gone and it is a grey landscape, except for the roses!

8 November 2023. The leaves are mostly gone and it is a grey landscape, except for the roses!
© Copyright 2023– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with active link and direction to this original post.

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and comment thank you