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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Beyond the Pasta by Mark Leslie

The title epitomizes exactly what Mark Leslie did. He went beyond the basic pasta!

The story tells of how Mark in between jobs as a stage director in England, went to Viterbo and lived with an Italian family, living as one of the family. Taking cooking lessons from the grandmother and Italian language lessons from the mother of the house, he got slowly assimilated as one of the family living their life on a day to day basis.

This is something most people would dream about.  Living with a local family especially when you are in love with all things Italian - so that you capture all the nuances of the Italian family life. Very few people can actually do it.

Interspersed with outings to all the places of local interest and daily cooking for both lunch and dinner the book also includes recipes from Nonna's kitchen with side notes of how it can be adapted for those outside Italy. I loved the zucchini recipes particularly as with a surfeit of zucchini from the garden I never know what to do with it. There are plenty of recipes in this book.

The recipes aside the book deals with the marketing for groceries which is an important aspect of food in Italy. Quality of ingredients and from specialist shops is a necessity. Not just picking it up from the closest most convenient shop which most people tend to do. The family dinners and entertainment of the family are also an integral part of the whole exercise and Mark Leslie excels in its description.

This book is a keeper.

Sent to me by Netgalley via Gemelli Press LLC


  1. This sounds like it just must go onto my wishlist - I do enjoy books that show a lot of love for food!

  2. This sounds delightful, Mystica. I love this sort of book. Thanks for the introduction. I'm adding the title to my TBR list.

    I actually know a couple of people who lived in Italy for a while - attending art schools. But they didn't immerse themselves in the local lives as this writer seems to have done.

    Maybe he'll open a restaurant?

  3. The book sounds wonderful. I love Italian food, so I imagine I'd be drooling over the recipes.