Tasting Rome

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I love Rome. From the moment I set foot in the Ancient City as a Freshman in college, I was captivated. Captivated by the beauty of everything that made Rome, ROME. I’d dreamt of Rome, read books about her and watched movies that took place in Rome (the greatest of which is, by far, Three Coins in the Fountain, followed closely behind by Roman Holiday!) but nothing could prepare me to fall in love with a city I had just met. Many people are passionate about Rome, and once you’ve visited, it is easy to see why. Many people would be skeptical of an Italian “cookbook” written by two American women. But having walked the cobbled streets they have walked, having tasted the delicacies unique to the heart of Rome, I easily put my trust in Tasting Rome’s authors Katie Parla and Krisitna Gill. Rome is a city that sucks you in, welcomes you with open arms, and reluctantly lets you go when your trip comes to an end. However, you will never be the same once you’ve visited. A piece of Rome lives on in your heart and that reality is evidenced in the beautiful book Parla and Gill have put forth. So grab this book and get ready for a wicked case of hungry wanderlust.

I like to read cookbooks from cover to cover in just a few sittings, leaving no word or measurement unread. Particularly cookbooks that also tell a story, and this one certainly does! You learn from the introduction that Katie and Kristina met serendipitously and bonded over their shared love of Rome. One with a penchant for photography and another with a passion for food, they have crafted a book that is not only a cookbook, it is an experience to savor. Tasting Rome is filled with beautiful, full-color photographs that capture the majesty of Rome’s most well-known monuments as well as the simplicity and grace that fill the every day life of a Roman. There is a helpful section at the beginning which outlines basic tools and ingredients to help get you started in the kitchen, even detailing that their recipes call for Large eggs. I love this attention to detail; it shows a commitment on the part of the author to want to help each home cooks’ recipes succeed. As a novice cook and expert food lover, I greatly appreciate that.
Following these introductory pages, the book is divided into the following sections: 
     - Snacks, Starters and Street Food
     - Classics and Variations
     - Cucina Ebraica (a cuisine unique to Roman Jews)
     - Verdure (salads, greens and vegetable dishes)
     - Bread and Pizza
     - Sweets
     - Drinks

The recipes are clearly laid out and the ingredients are conveniently listed to the left of the recipe. Most recipes are contained on a single page, making it easy to put on your cookbook stand for reference. While there are not step by step instructions as many of my other favorite recipe books have, the photos of the finished products more than make up for that. There is not a photo for every recipe but again, the book and the context of the book is so beautiful it really doesn’t matter. 

Overall, I absolutely love this cookbook. I hesitate to label it as just as cookbook, because it truly is more than that. It is travel guide, photographic essay, sociological study of a beautiful place and people, and a cultural journey for the reader. If you have ever been to Rome, wanted to go to Rome, or are planning to go to Rome, Tasting Rome is the perfect book for you. And if you’ve never even thought about it, you should still read Tasting Rome… you are certain to come away with a desire to travel and experience this beautiful Ancient City. To read more about this inspiring book, you can visit their website HERE. You can purchase it HERE on Amazon. 

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