A good cookbook really is a thing of beauty, combining photos, recipes, and on rare and lucky occasion, incorporating anecdotes, history, observations, and sometimes even folklore. So when I discovered that Lynne Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table fame has written cookbooks highlighting some of the cuisine she's spent so many years celebrating on her syndicated weekly radio show produced by American Public Media, I immediately went in search. I found a copy of The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia Romagna, The Heartland of Northern Italian Food at the local library‐only to discover that this twenty-year-old cookbook actually has a waiting list at my local library. That immediately seemed like a good sign, so I promptly put my name on that waiting list.
First published in 1992 by William Morrow and Company, The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia Romagna, The Heartland of Northern Italian Food won the James Beard Cookbook of the Year Award in 1993. Kasper, herself, has been named one of the twelve best cooking teachers by the James Beard Foundation.
I've listened to The Splendid Table for years, so my expectations for the cookbook were already
Even now, after almost 20 years in print, The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia Romagna, The Heartland of Northern Italian Food is still garnering enthusiastic endorsements and high-marks from reviewers all over cooking sites, Library Thing, Amazon, and foodie blogs. Most of the 30-odd Amazon reviewers actually gush over how much they've loved this cookbook since first discovering it.
Every recipe includes notes, history, preparation tips, and Kasper's own warm regard for the food, the people, and the countryside she's so lovingly explored in person, and now guides her readers through by means of this cookbook. She discusses antipastos and other appetizers, wine-pairings, vegetables, breads, pastas, sauces, meat, poultry, and fish. She explores vegetarian dishes, fresh pastas, historical sweet pastas, and traditional essential stocks and sauces. Kasper's section on desserts is a gorgeous tour-de-force, all by itself. This book really does transcend cooking, imparting an entire cultural experience through the food of this region Kasper so very clearly adores.
This is a good deal more than a cookbook: It's really a hard-cover library-bound experience of Northern Italy, and you'll find yourself devouring every word, before you even get to the recipes or the glorious full-color pictures celebrating the region, the people, and the food of Emilia-Romagna. The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia Romagna, The Heartland of Northern Italian Food is a must-have book for anyone who loves the food of Italy and dreams of drinking wine beneath the sun on the hills of the Italian countryside.