Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Italian
The Jewish-Sicilian Cookbook
Vincent, Pamela Hensley
Press, The Overlook
Published: March 8, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Readers hungry to explore Sicily's Jewish cuisine won't discover much of it in Vincent's sentimental scrapbook of favorite family recipes. Instead, here's a cooking romance as it might be imagined by the Lifetime network's
producers: skinny daughter of WASPy Los Angeles veterinarian and Jewish beauty grows up to play C.J. on the 1980s TV series Matt Houston; marries Duke Vincent, the dashing producer who cast her in the role... and they eat happily ever after in their
opulent California kitchen. Vincent isn't a professional chef, and some of her recipe instructions are downright strange (an entire head of garlic simmers in tomato sauce for only five minutes; another sauce described as "marinara"andmdash;traditionally
meatlessandmdash;owes its punch to pepperoni). But grandmother Yette knew her latkes; dad Jack was a shish kebab master; and Duke's Italian-American staples are easy and appealing. Too bad we don't hear more from housekeeper Lucy Ramos, whose two salsa
recipes are tantalizing. Vincent's style is more girlfriendy than informationalandmdash;every recipe includes several exclamations of "Delicious!"andmdash;and the photographs include more publicity head shots than actual dishes. Serious foodies will find
little of interest here, but Vincent's enthusiasm for the pleasures of table and family in the midst of life in the TV fast lane is likable enough.
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No matter how far from home we go, refining our palates, leaving behind family cooking for more sophisticated fare, trading up from iceberg lettuce to arugula, from meatloaf to paté, from Velveeta to brie, we all
have a special place in our hearts-and our stomachs-for our families' deliciously basic, special home recipes.
Born of the culinary traditions of the two very different sides of actress Pamela Hensley Vincent's Jewish-American family and her
husband Duke Vincent's Italian-American background, The Jewish-Sicilian Cookbook recaptures, with charm, humor, and tasty and do-able recipes, the gastronomic nostalgia of two families that could be very much like any of our own.
recipes in this charmingly appointed cookbook range from quick salads to hearty stews and run the gamut from typically Jewish (Yetta's chicken soup and latkes) to the quintessentially Italian (Duke's Special Spaghetti). Some of the recipes represent the
best of traditional modern American food, such as Manny's Hamburgers and Jack's Chef Salad, radiating a special feeling of mid-century cooking and eating, with a Fifties sensibility that goes down as deliciously well today it it did then. The common
ground of all family food traditions is "Food is Love," and this principle is irresistibly at play as Pamela Vincent recounts heartfelt anecdotes, describing fond memories of meals with loved ones, while sharing her favorite family recipes with all the
enthusiasm of a favorite cousin presenting a cherished recipe on a much used recipe card. From a predawn breakfast of buttered matzoh and coffee with her grandfather to pasta night with Duke, The Jewish-Sicilian Cookbook will inspire readers to revisit
fond food memories of their own as well as create new ones.
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