Former International Supermodel turned Celebrity Chef/Award Winning Author Maria Liberati, author of the best selling book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking and the Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winner The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition.
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Saturday, March 3, 2012
Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons & Sicily
Guest Blogger: Chris Manganaro
Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons: Travels in Sicily
on a Vespa by Matthew Fort, the author is
able to show just how unique and different Sicily is through his view
of its food and culture. Due to Fort’s passion for Sicily, we are
able to grow to love it ourselves.
journey by Vespa is described in detail, allowing us to see where and
how he is traveling. The addition of a map at the beginning of the
book is a fun and useful visual as it helps to place the reader in
the area that is being written about. While the author does sometimes
complain about his journey’s discomforts, it is never for long
periods of time and helps to add a personality to the person we are
journeying with. This is necessary in making the story engaging,
though; some may not find the eccentric foodie to be completely
likable. He is human and has his charms.
way in which the author is charming is in his descriptions of food
which are just luscious. As a food critic, it seems necessary to be
able to describe taste, texture and all sorts of qualities that food
has in order to get it across to others. His descriptions vary quite
a bit and he uses words that are so vibrant that you can almost taste
the food he is describing. His love of food certainly shines through.
makes his description of food all the more interesting is the fact
that he often includes the history behind the dish or ingredients.
These stories are rich and add quite a bit to the quality of his
experiences. It is not only describing the food, but the history and
culture of Sicily. Readers will really learn quite a lot about Sicily
and its background through Fort’s adventures in filling his
actually quite amazing the girth of topics that Fort is able to
approach without seemingly going off topic. He addresses things such
as obesity, poverty, and even the history of the mafia as well as
other social issues. He does not try to paint a picture of Sicily as
a total fantasy or paradise, but rather a place filled with
contradictions. While it is sweet like honey, it also has the
bitterness of lemons. It is partially the fact that he sees Sicily as
such a mystery that drives his travels.
the end, the mystery does end up being unsolved. The recipes that
have come at the end of chapters throughout do not end the book as
the author uses those pages to reflect upon his journey. This feels
like the best way to end the book as it is more a travelogue, a story
of one man’s culinary journey than a cookbook. While the recipes
are recreated and easy enough to follow (though conversion from
metrics is necessary) they do not necessarily shine as much as the
story being told. They are definitely worth trying and sound
delicious, but the richness of the book is more in the journey
cannot easily describe every facet of this book as it touches upon
many different topics and paints such a lively picture that it can
only be experienced by oneself, much like Sicily. Anyone with an
interest in Sicily will be caught in its embrace.