Informed and enlightening, loving and luscious.



Italian food is great—no, world-altering—writes Esquire food and wine correspondent Mariani (The Italian-American Cookbook, 2000, etc.).

Beginning with a historical perspective, the author shows how “Italian food” really had multiple meanings and multiple menus due to the country’s fragmented government until its 1861 unification. The great waves of Italian emigrants, especially to England and the United States, in the 19th century began the global love affair for pasta that has inflated during the past century. Mariani charts the rise of the first Italian-American brands (Ghirardelli, Ragù, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee) and examines countless films and TV shows that involve Italian cuisine—from early Mob movies through The Godfather and The Sopranos. The author also looks at popular song (Dean Martin’s hit “That’s Amore” earns some play time), Italian restaurants across America and the simultaneous rise of Italian wines and high fashion. Gucci and Armani appear in the same book with Rice-a-Roni and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, which premiered in 1937. Mariani lauds the health benefits of fine Italian food and snarls some about the low-carb Atkins Diet. Those pretentious French chefs, he writes, found themselves turning to olive oil and pasta to survive. And the influence of Ferran Adrià (see Coleman Andrews’ Ferran, 2010) and other inventive molecular gastronomists? “Very limited,” writes the author. Mariani sprinkles recipes throughout, from basic marinara sauce to more demanding dishes like “Egg-Filled Ravioli with Truffles,” and profiles a host of relevant people and places, from Pino Luongo to Paul Bartolotta.

Informed and enlightening, loving and luscious.

Pub Date: March 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-230-10439-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

Did you like this book?


With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet