Synopses & Reviews
A Tuscan cookbook with a difference, From the Tables of Tuscan Women
turns its gaze away from the overly familiar areas of Florence and Siena, and looks westward to the less familiar province of Lucca. Tuscany's most diverse province geographically, Lucca spans mountains and forests, olive groves and terraced vineyards, with a pristine coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The cuisine of Lucca reflects both the richness of this diversity and the wealth of ingredients it provides -- from fritto misto di pesce, an assortment of fish battered and fried in olive oil, to cacciucci, a soup made entirely of fish and served on thick slices of toasted bread rubbed with garlic, to castagnaccia a sweet cake made with chestnut flour.
Integral to the way of life there, Lucchesian food is inextricably bound up with the character of its people and their "uniquely Mediterranean lifestyle that mixes marvelous climate, a relaxed attitude, and an unrelenting passion of sitting down at the table," as Anne Bianchi says in her introduction.
So, in order to most fully give the flavor of the cuisine of Lucca, Anne Bianchi, who has spent much of her life in Tuscany, introduces us to the spirit of the province and the soul of any Tuscan meal: its people. "No people anywhere in the world are more dramatic, outspoken, or riotously arrogant," she writes. In these pages we meet nine amazing Tuscan women, "hear their stories, stroll through their towns, and sample the best of their recipes." These virtuoso chefs share their secrets and opinions on everything from sauces to politics, spicing their conversation with witty and revealing anecdotes of life in their rural villages. Accompanied by lively photos, From the Tables of Tuscan Women gives intimate access to the culinary recipes and traditions of Lucca while offering an incomparable Tuscan experience. The voracious reader and adventurous cook will find new roads down which to travel, as well as sumptuous dishes to sample -- whose recipes can be easily replicated in American kitchens.
About the Author
Anne Bianchi is a food writer who lives in New York and the Tuscan province of Lucca. She is the owner and Director of the Toscana Saporita Cooking School and Director of Toscana Saporita Food Imports. She has written a number of books, most recently Solo Verdura: The Complete Guide to Cooking Tuscan Vegetables, Zuppa! Soups from the Italian Countryside, and From the Tables of Tuscan Women, all published by Ecco.