Book Review: Frances Mayes Always Italy by Frances Mayes & Ondine Cohane
Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / April 6, 2020

About: Frances Mayes Always Italy by Frances Mayes & Ondine Cohane is a travel book and guide to the country which they both love. Ms. Mayes is a renowned writer of such books as Under the Tuscan Sun and other bestsellers. Ms. Cohane is a New York Times travel writer. 416 pages Publisher: National Geographic Language: English ISBN-10: 142622091X Buy Frances Mayes Always Italy from Amazon.com* More Books by Frances Mayes* More Books by Ondine Cohane*   Thoughts: The first thing I noticed about Frances Mayes Always Italy by Frances Mayes & Ondine Cohane is the quality of the book. The glossy photograph, shiny pages, and hardcover provide you hours of simply looking (jealously I might add), at the views and cuisines from that part of the world. The glossy pictures almost allow you to smell and taste the delicacies featured, while the scenery makes you want to hop on a plane and go on a trip (once the pandemic is over). Each section have cool recommendations for the traveler, as well as a few history tidbits here and there. Ms. Mayes talks about places to eat, tour, stay, even the uniqueness of the geography. She makes a point to…

Fun Facts Friday: Luigi Pirandello
Latest Posts / June 28, 2019

Luigi Pirandello (28 June, 1867 – 10 December, 1936) was a Nobel  Prize winning novelist, poet, and writer from Italy. Image from: http://www.theatrehistory.com/italian/pirandello001.html Works by Luigi Pirandello* 1)      Mr. Pirandello was born on the island of Sicily to an upper-class family involved in the Sulfur industry. 2)      During high school, Mr. Pirandello’s favorite poets were Giosuè Carducci and Arturo Graf, both Italian. 3)      In 1894 he married Antonietta Portulano in an arranged marriage. She was the daughter of a business associate of Mr. Pirandello’s father and gave the author financial independence. 4)      A landslide in 1903 shut down the sulfur mine which supplied the money for the Pirandello family. Almost overnight they became poor and Mr. Pirandello was forced to earn a living by writing and teaching Italian at a teacher’s college. 5)      Mrs. Pirandello suffered from mental illness and was extremely jealous of her husband. She was put in a sanatorium in 1919. The experience created the author’s characteristic work of the changeable personality in humans. 6)      Mr. Pirandello wrote over 50 plays. In 1923 a Paris production of the play Six Characters in Search of an Author  made him relatively well known. 7)      Together with another successful play, Henry IV, the author toured the world between 1925 – 1927 with his own theater…

Book Review: Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

When most of us hear the name Leonardo da Vinci, we think of his paintings the Mona Lisa or the Last Supper. Others might think of The Vitruvian Man or his designs of early tanks and helicopter. Just like any other human beings, Leonardo da Vinci is more than a painter, engineer or weapon smith, and in this biography Walter Isaacson tries to figure out this complex genius.

Fun Facts Friday: Niccolò Machiavelli
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 3, 2019

Niccolò Machiavelli (3 May, 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian writer, playwright, poet, historian and diplomat. He is known for his groundbreaking book The Prince. Books by Niccolò Machiavelli* Born in Florence (Italy, of course), Machiavelli was the first son, but third child, of an attorney. Machiavelli is is considered the father of modern political science. His argument that good ends justify bad actions is an important theory of modern politics. He was a professional public official with many responsibilities including military affairs. Machiavelli’s most known work is Il Principe (The Prince), which contains short statements targeting a “new prince”, instead of the one in power. The book is notorious for instructions on dishonesty, immoral behavior, and even killing innocent people all as means of effective politics. To this day, the term Machiavellian usually means a politician or leader who is devious, deceitful, and ones who base their positions on circumstances rather than morals or ethics. He also wrote poetry, carnival songs, and poetry, as well as much correspondences with scholars and politicians. During his lifetime, Machiavelli was very critical of Christianity (as it was practiced at the time) and it effects on daily life, as well as politics….

Book Review: The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King
4 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / February 14, 2019

About: The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King is a historical fiction novel taking place in Italy around the middle 1500s. This is Ms. King’s second novel. 384 pages Publisher: Atria Books Language: English ISBN-10: 150119643X My rating for The Chef’s Secret – 4 Buy The Chef’s Secret from Amazon.com* More books by Crystal King* Thoughts: Books about food and food preparation, especially with historical context, are some of my favorites, second only to books about books. The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King is this type of historical fiction work and the plot has much to do with food preparation. Even though I must admit that very little of the chef’s specialties sounded appetizing. I have never heard of Bartolomeo Scappi, and it was a big part of the reason I wanted to read this book. As it turned out, Mr. Scappi was one of the first, if not “the” first, celebrity chefs. In his monumental cookbook, Opera dell’arte del cucinare (1570), Mr. Scappi published around 1,000 recipes of Renaissance meals and techniques. By Unknown – Opera by Bartolomeo Scappi, Public Domain, Link I enjoyed the way the author described the era, life, extravagant meals (for the rich, of course), and even some techniques for good measures….

Cook Book Review: Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey by America’s Test Kitchen, Eugenia Bone and Julia Della Croce
5 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / November 14, 2018

About: Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey by America’s Test Kitchen, Eugenia Bone and Julia Della Croce is a cookbook which has recipes from certain regions of Italy. This is a book by America’s Test Kitchen, as informative and educational as the show. 384 pages Publisher: National Geographic Language: English ISBN-10: 1426219741 My rating for Tasting Italy – 5 Buy Tasting Italy  from Amazon.com* More Books by America’s Test Kitchen* More Books by Eugenia Bone* More Books by Julia Della Croce* Thoughts: The first thing I thought when I leafed through Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey by America’s Test Kitchen, Eugenia Bone and Julia Della Croce is that this is one heck of a gorgeous book. The book covers Italy by region, with a few words about the culinary culture of that region, it’s history and then… the recipes, all accompanied by first rate photographs. I cooked three recipes from this book – the Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake, the Hunter’s-Style Chicken, and made Fresh Semolina Pasta from scratch. The Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake: from Piedmont region known for it’s chocolates, I had to make this. The recipe was easy to follow and I assume the cake came out good, I was expecting more of a…

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