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CLASSIC TECHNIQUES OF ITALIAN COOKING Introduction
THE FINE ART OF ITALIAN COOKING
|from: Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking|
|1982, New York, Simon and Schuster|
|BY GIULIANO BUGIALLI|
|Italian cooking has a very wide range, from the simplicity of many authentic regional dishes to the complexity of the alta cucina (haute
cuisine) dishes used for formal dining all over Italy. This book covers the
entire range. The simpler dishes are drawn from regions all over Italy and
the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and stress authenticity and genuineness.
In order to include the more complex dishes so often neglected in Italian
cookbooks written in English, it is really necessary to illustrate many techniques
which are called for in making them. Also illustrated are some particularly
Italian basic techniques, such as methods of chopping, ways of cooking, etc.
If I stress authenticity, it is because I feel that the authentic versions of dishes are the ones that have stood the test of time, even of centuries. Any personal innovations should stem from knowledge of the authentic traditional version. It is becoming increasingly possible to retain the authenticity of Italian cooking outside of Italy with the greater availability of the proper ingredients and is worth the extra effort to arrive at the traditional dish. After you have prepared and tasted the original recipe, then you can be more creative--what happens next is up to you.
The first chapter of this book documents, with prints from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the development of aspects of formal presentation which spread from Italy to other countries at that time. It is my conviction that Italian cooking reflects the same spirit that gave birth to the Italian arts. Alta cucina reflects the aesthetic developments that occur in any high culture, and the simple regional dishes reflect the more stable folk character of the different local traditions.
The arrangement of the whole menu, what foods should properly accompany others to make a balanced ensemble, is most important to an Italian meal. Therefore, I have included in the appendix fifty menus along with a note on Italian wines for the menus. You will be able to choose a menu for any type of occasion, whether simple and homey or very formal. What is most important is to eat well, whatever the occasion.
I did not want to duplicate or repeat the recipes and other information covered in my first book, The Fine Art of Italian Cooking; therefore, you will see that I have occasionally referred you back to it, when necessary.
Giuliano Bugialli, 1989
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