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COOKBOOK WATCH

Goosely Translated

July 14, 1999|RUSS PARSONS

While traveling in Italy last summer, I found a cookbook devoted solely to the goose. I had to buy it. When I got home, it took me a month to get through it, piecing together sentences with my bad Italian and a good dictionary. Last week a familiar-looking book landed on my desk. It was my goose book, but now in English, so you can read it even if you can't tell an oca from an orca.

It's part of a new series of cookbooks from Konemann, a German publisher previously best known for the luxurious Culinaria series, which retail for better than $40 in some cases. So far, I've only found two: "The Goose" and "The Squash" (both Konemann, $19.95). They're a little hard to track down, but they're worth the effort. ("The Goose" is ISBN #3-8290-1464-3 and "The Squash" is #3-8290-1462-7.)

These are team efforts: There's no single author and, in truth, they are kind of stitched together. Both books are subtitled "History, Folklore, Ancient Recipes," and if that sounds like a lot to cover in roughly 150 pages, they do pull it off--albeit in a very Italo-centric way. There are interesting notes on early appearances of the ingredients (the first mention of goose they found was in Ortensio Lando's 1548 book "Catalog of the Things Which Are Eaten and of the Beverages Which Are Used Today"). There are recipes by some of Italy's leading chefs and lots of really cool color plates (these are the Culinaria folks after all).

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