Ancona to the Midwest: A Culinary Journey


Among long-winded bouts of personal history, Cortellini’s culinary memoir peppers a lifetime of mouth-watering recipes from across two continents.
Cortellini has led a well-traveled life—a fact reflected in the selection of alluring recipes featured here, ranging from nostalgic comfort food to higher-end cuisine. At a young age in the early 1950s, he migrated to the U.S. from Italy with his mother and brother to meet their father there. After first living in an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx, the family eventually settled in Indianapolis, where his mother continued to cook in the Italian tradition but with modifications to adapt to the ingredients available and affordable in America. Her culinary innovation means many of the Italian recipes included in the book have a distinctly American touch, such as lasagna that substitutes Kraft American cheese with pimento and Kraft Swiss cheese for besciamella sauce (Cortellini does admit, however, that “the traditional version using besciamella sauce is far superior”). As an adult, Cortellini had a career as a banking and finance executive, which uprooted him and his wife to several European countries, including France, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom in addition to his native Italy. The international travel allowed him to expand his personal menu beyond his mother’s Italian home-cooking, with dishes such as avocats aux crevettes (avocado with shrimp and American sauce) from Luxembourg; still, hearty Italian remains the staple. The tempting recipes, even the more complicated concoctions, are approachable and well-explained thanks to Cortellini’s frankness and attention to detail. Those traits become a burden, however, in the time between recipes when personal history takes center stage. Here, the text becomes bogged down in lengthy discussions, such as one on the process of strengthening internal controls at a technology company. Names of seemingly every friend, acquaintance and one-time employee are dutifully offered as well—something that is sure to delight the author’s inner circle, though it makes for a laborious reading experience for anyone else. Readers might be tempted to skim these parts or simply skip them altogether and go straight to where the book really shines: the recipes.

A delicious buffet of family recipes with too generous a helping of memoir.

Pub Date: June 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615898858

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Cortellini Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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