Cookbooks make great holiday gifts and here's a round up of some to choose from, most of them with an Italian twist. If you're interested in building up your own cookbook collection these books are a great place to start.
About Tina Prestia
On her blog tinastable.com Tina explores and celebrate Italian cuisine. Here's how she describes herself on her website: “a professionally trained cook, Italy enthusiast, personal chef, fresh pasta maker, cookbook addict, expat, and traveler, living in Bologna. Join me as I discuss all things Italian - its cuisine, travel tips, cookbooks, and more.”
You can also find Tina on Facebook and Instagram.
Have a listen to my other podcast interview with Tina.
Tina lives in Bologna and she loves everything about the rich cuisine of her Emilia-Romagna region, and she's now delving into Abruzzese cuisine where she now has a second home.
There's one thing about Tina that you won't find on her website: she's an avid cookbook collector and aficionado with over 1000 print cookbooks in her collection and hundreds more on Kindle. She had shelves custom-made to accommodate her fabulous cookbook collection and when she buys more cookbooks she now sets them on top of other books on her shelves.
She has a spreadsheet with a record of all her cookbooks. Tina says she buys lots of her cookbooks used and when she wants a new cookbook she just adds it to her birthday and holiday gift list!
Tina and I chatted today about some of the favorites in her extensive cookbook collection. Have a listen to the episode and take a look below for some cookbook ideas. Tina mentioned lots of cookbooks I was unaware of that I'm anxious to add to my own cookbook collection. Likewise the cookbooks we talked about today only scrape the surface of the books she loves and recommends from her collection.
Tina is a professionally trained cook, a personal chef and she's been cooking for a few decades so now she seeks out cookbooks that go beyond the very basics. When she gets a new cookbook Tina reads it like a novel start to finish and then she starts to dig in and prepare the recipes.
What are the elements of a good cookbook?
There are four things Tina and I both like to see in a cookbook:
*Recipes that describe how to make each dish in detail so that it's understandable to anyone who looks at the recipe. If it's an Italian recipe with Italian cooking techniques the recipe should describe those techniques so they make sense and are clear to anyone following the recipe.
*Recipes with ingredients in metric, or metric plus US standard.
*Cookbooks and recipes with stories and history that give context to the recipes and the region or place they come from.
*Great food photography is a welcome addition to any cookbook!
Here are a few of Tina's cookbook suggestions
Some cookbook classics for holiday gifts
Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set)
Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition, by Irma S. Rombauer
Regional Italian cookbooks for your cookbook collection
Domenica Marchetti has written numerous cookbooks each one better than the next. She hasn't written a book specifically from the Abruzzo region but her heritage is Abruzzese. Find all her wonderful cookbooks here.
You can listen to my recent podcast interview with Domenica here.
Biba Caggiano has written numerous wonderful cookbooks. Two of Tina's favorites are Northern Italian Cooking.
and Trattoria Cooking: More than 200 authentic recipes from Italy's family-style restaurants.
One of Tina's favorite cookbook authors is Paolo Petroni. She recommends two books of his: The complete book of Florentine Cooking and Il grande libro dei primi piatti (Italian edition).
Another favorite Tuscan cookbook author is Giulia Scarpaleggia. Tina loves both of these books: From the Markets of Tuscany: A Cookbook and I love Toscana (Italian edition).
My podcast interview with Rosetta tells her personal story how her family moved from Calabria to the San Francisco Bay area and brought their culinary culture along with them.
Naples & Southern Italy
Tina loves two cookbooks by Arthur Schwartz: Naples at Table: Cooking in Campania
and The Southern Italian Table: Authentic Tastes from Traditional Kitchens.
Some of Tina’s other favorite cookbooks and cookbook authors
Sonia Peronaci, founder of Giallo Zafferano. Sonia has some great YouTube videos in addition to her Italian language cookbooks. Take a look at her website.
There are two Maureen Fant books Tina and I both love: Dictionary of Italian Cuisine and Encyclopedia of Pasta (translated by Maureen Fant).
Maureen Fant also spearheaded the creation and publication of AWAR’s Roman Kitchen, Food and Memories. Maureen and I are members of the American Women's Association of Rome (AWAR) and during lockdown this cookbook was created. It's a delightful compilation of AWAR member recipes, reflections and stories. Proceeds benefited frontline workers during the worst of the first year of the Covid pandemic. The book is now in its second publication and it's available here.
Desserts and holiday recipes
Francine Segan: Dolci: Italy's Sweets.
La dolce vita: Enjoy life's sweet pleasures with 170 recipes for biscotti, torte, crostate, gelati, and other Italian desserts by Michele Scicolone.
Bread cookbook for your cookbook collection
Marc Vetri has written a wonderful bread cookbook: Mastering Bread: The Art and Practice of Handmade Sourdough, Yeast Bread, and Pastry.
He also has a pizza, and a pasta cookbook.
Some new cookbooks for holiday gifts
Tina just bought An A-Z of Pasta: Stories, Shapes, Sauces, Recipes by Rachel Roddy.
Tina is excited about the brand new Emiko Davies Venice cookbook, Cinnamon and Salt: Ciccheti in Venice: Small Bites From The Lagoon City and it's on her wish list, with a May 2022 release date. It's available now for pre-order.
Paola Bacchia has written many cookbooks and Tina loves her brand new one, Istria: Recipes and stories from the hidden heart of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.
Lots of cookbooks are available in digital format and you can often find great deals online. Tina suggests that you keep your eye out because you can find monthly deals in the Kindle cookbook section and buy cookbooks for around €1.
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