Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - A Tuscan-American Kitchen

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review - A Tuscan-American Kitchen

About the Book
Featuring the foods and customs of two families whose roots are planted in the Tuscan hills, this comprehensive presentation of the cuisine of Northern Italy includes nearly three hundred kitchen-tested recipes. Covering every aspect of the Tuscan kitchen from appetizers through dessert, the recipes feature breads; fish and game dishes; meat, lamb, and veal offerings; omelets; pastas (from stuffed varieties to polenta); poultry; rice; salads; snacks; sauces; soups; and vegetables. An entire chapter focusing on pork preparations includes some of the books showcase recipes, such as porchetta, and outstanding salami, prosciutto, and blood pudding.
Far beyond simple recipes, the book includes an examination of the differences in regional cooking in Italy and how these differences have been adapted in America. Using Tuscan proverbs and traditions as a base, the authors delve deep into Tuscan holidays and the people’s relationship to their land and the climate. Five essays accompanying the recipes further illuminate the routines and rituals throughout the Tuscan year, immigrant stories, how to shop Italian, and country-style cooking. Useful illustrations, ranging from step-by-step instructions for stuffing an artichoke and making cannelloni to making homemade wine and identifying dozens of different types of pasta, add a further dimension of experience to the volume.
About the Authors
A third-generation Italian American, Cassandra Vivian is a retired historian, columnist, public relations consultant, entrepreneur, and English instructor. The author of nearly twenty books, Vivian has received awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the NAACP, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and Outstanding Young Women of America. She lives in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.
Vivian Pelini Sansone is the daughter of Italian immigrants. Her mother instilled in her a love of cooking, and Sansone has always enjoyed perfecting new recipes and old standbys, much to the joy of her family. Now retired, she worked for Bell Telephone Company for more than thirty years. She lives in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

My Take on the BookThis book was first published in 1993 under the name of IMMIGRANTS KITCHEN: ITALIAN

The authors made changes. They updated the ingredients and methods. A distinction has been made between Tuscan cooking and cooking in other Italian regions.

The introduction written was helpful in understanding the various regions of Italy and the different cultures in methods and foods used in cooking.

The authors wrote a detailed history of their family. You will find it not only interesting but maybe your ancestors had similar stories to tell.

My grandparents were immigrants from Sicily, Italy. I have heard stories about the family get togethers, food cooked and customs.

This book was a look back into a time in the authors' past and made me eager to try the recipes. They are recipes that are still alive not only in American but in Tuscany too.

Here are a few of the recipes I used:

The first one I made was the Boiled Potato with Parsley Salad. Variations to the recipe included adding garlic, fresh vegetables like tomato,  cucumber, peppers, beans or olives. I made the salad for our family church picnic. The bowl was empty when I left. I loved the vinegar and oil dressing on the salad. It added to the freshness of the vegetables I used.

The second recipe I  was the polenta. I made the polenta and let it harden in a rectangular pan in the refrigerator overnight. I made the meat sauce in the book which I used the next day on the warmed up polenta which had been cut  into rectangles. This was another delicious combination and a nice change from pasta and meat sauce.

The recipe choices range from appetizers through vegetables ( in alphabetical order). You will not be disappointed in this story book and cook book. The ingredients can be easily found in your grocery store. All you need to do is add your time and your love!


All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- New to the Divadom or to Dad of Divas Reviews? Please Subscribe to my RSS Feed! Subscribe in a reader Questions?Drop me a line at

1 comment:

Mippy said...

Thank you for this review! This book is going down on my list of books to purchase at some point.
My ancestors were from the Isle of Sardinia, Italy :) I don't know much about them, though.
Would love to try out some of these recipes :)
Thanks again for the book review!
Have a great day! :)