This time of year, travel is on many people’s agenda, but before you pack your bags and jet off to parts unknown it’s best to do a little research.
There are myriad guidebooks that can assist with vacation plans. Knowing when to go, where to stay and what to pack all help to make that much-deserved dose of R&R go off without a hitch, but to really have a successful trip it’s best to get the skinny from a local; and now you can!
If your travel bucket list includes Italy’s capital city (and it most definitely should), Elizabeth Minchilli’s Eating Rome is a must-read for those who desire to successfully navigate the country’s most unique tourist attraction — the Roman food scene. The read is part travelogue, part guidebook and part etiquette lesson; and for those who aren’t crossing the Atlantic this year, part cookbook.
Last year, I had the good fortune to travel to Rome and Minchilli’s witty descriptions and personal anecdotes instantly had me longing (and maybe feeling a bit nomstalgic) for the city and cuisine I adore. Her love of food and that sublime la dolce vita are apparent in her writing as she happily shares with us all the culinary customs Rome has to offer.
She not only gives insight on the what and where (for example, the Jewish Ghetto is the only place one should order carciofi alla guidea), but also the how (do not order your cup of coffee at the counter and then carry it on your own to a table, and never touch the street side fruit vendors wares before purchasing). From breakfast (cappuccino is never ordered after 12 p.m.) to lunch (eating in public is not only frowned upon — unless it’s pizza bianca or gelato — but is actually illegal) to dinner (how to order the contorni or vegetable course), her insights are priceless. Whole chapters are dedicated to the artichoke, grappa and pasta (yes they do actually eat it at least once every day) and how they manage to stay so fit.
Each chapter ends with a short selection of easy to prepare recipes so that, on your return, you can attempt to capture the gastronomic magic that is characteristically Rome. Thus far, I’ve successfully recreated the pasta carbonara I enjoyed on my first night in The Eternal City, endeavored to whip up a batch of swiss chard gnudi and picked up some useful cooking tips on the way.
Before you embark on your journey (or if you are as fascinated with Italy as much as I am) you can’t go wrong with this delightful book. The descriptions, the recipes and the photos peppered throughout Eating Rome left me salivating for more.
Italy’s food culture is like no other; and it would be a travesty to travel the 4000+ miles and not sample the best food the city has to offer. Thanks to Elizabeth Minchilli, you wont miss a thing.
Do you have a favorite Italian dish? There is no way I could pick just one — I love them all! —Karen