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Jamie's Italy    by Jamie Oliver order for
Jamie's Italy
by Jamie Oliver
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook, Jamie's Italy, is as beautiful as his other contributions to your cookbook shelves – all five of them. He says about Italy, 'There is such a diversity in lifestyles, cooking, traditions and dialects. This is why as a chef I find this country so damn exciting. You know what? I should have been Italian. The truth is, when I'm in Italy, I feel Italian.'

Jamie's Italy is Italian, from the first page to the very last. His enthusiastic Introduction to this new book is imbued with his love for Italy and the Italians' love of good food using local and fresh, fresh ingredients. His only complaint is the Italians' unwillingness to try something new or not cooked in the way they and their families before them have cooked.

Open the first page and delve into a book crammed full of wonderful, regional recipes and lots of love. As in most Italian meals, Oliver starts off his new book with Antipasti or Starters, such as Bruschette fixed with many different ingredients. I could make a meal of them. There are also Caponata, Fried Ricotta, Sage and Anchovy Fritters, Baked Lemons. The list goes on, with too many delectables to do justice to here. You'll just have to obtain a copy of the cookbook and take your time dreaming over it.

Jamie lovingly touts the street food that he found, on the whole, damn tasty. The Spaghetti Fritters intrigue me. Would love to go back to Italy to find some. I can't imagine eating a Street Salad, but am game to try almost anything. Here's Shrimp and Parsley Fritatta. Where the heck is my fork? Italian Roast Pork. Mmmm. And, of course, Pizza.

I'm drooling too much to make sense of anything. Take it from me that this is Jamie's best cookbook yet and I rate his previous ones at the top of the genre. The recipes all sound soooo good and the earthy photographs simply add to the presentation of some of what Jamie thinks is the best food in the world. For example – the Minestrone – as varied as the villages in Italy and Sicily. Can you imagine Cauliflower Risotto? Neither can I. But the recipe looks wonderful. The Salad from Capri looks good enough to kill for. Well, maybe not that drastic. But close.

Here's Grilled swordfish with Salsa de Giovanna. Perfecto! Or Flash Roast Beef with Garlic, Rosemary and Mushrooms. I remember the wild boar from my trip. Wonderful and rich. Jamie fixes this with a Wild Boar Sauce from Mercatello. Takes me back to Tuscany where I ate like a queen. You can too. Or a king, if that's who you are. To top off any meal, Jamie explores the uses of sticky figs – and the best way to prepare them. Divine.

Whatever your proclivities as far as food is concerned, Jamie's Italy offers enough scrumptious recipes to suit the most discriminating of palates.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

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