Cooking Italian

From “My Dear Italian Mother’s Peasant Recipes”
by Joe Bianco


Italian cooking – or cuisine as some aficionados choose to call it today – has become one of the true success stories to capture the American kitchen. What was at one time the culinary property of a certain ethnic group has now become the staple in the American household. What child today hasn’t tasted pizza or lasagna or spaghetti? There was a time when the word “pasta” was seldom heard or even used in food promotion.

Today, what was once identified as “Italian food” is now served in school lunches. A new generation of foodies have become more cosmopolitan in their food habits.

However, there is still a hunger for the simple foods, foods that not only taste good but provide the necessary nourishment – and are easy and quick to prepare. A book that offers the easy way to Italian cooking is the most recent edition of the original best seller My Dear Italian Mother’s Peasant Recipes. Its new title is Cooking Italian.


It contains not only easy-to-prepare recipes from one of Italy’s favorite culinary regions but uses food items which are good for you and easy on the budget. There are many recipes which today would fall into the vegan category. For what vegan would turn down a plate of lentils and celery or broccoli and penne cooked in olive oil and garlic?


When the book was originally published in the mid-1970s, it created such a sensation that, although it was published by a small printing company in Oregon, it received nationwide press. The San Francisco Examiner said the book…” goes beyond the scope of most cook books. It’s a trip down memory lane…and the foods that went with it.” The Associated Press features writer,Tom Hoge wrote, “here are formulas for robust pasta dishes, rich with garlic and tomato sauce….” The (Portland) Oregonian  food editor declared the book offers “recipes that are simple and easy to follow.”


During the introductory phase of the book, the author was in constant demand to teach the basics of Italian cooking. Which he did. He taught at schools in Portland and other cities in Oregon and held seminars in the other regions of the Pacific Northwest. The book covers the basics of simple Italian cooking with recipes ranging from varieties of vegetables to fish, to all pastas and some meats. All this is wrapped around a short biography growing up in an atmosphere of delicious Italian cooking prepared by his wonderful mother.

Cooking Italian
ISBN 10: 0-9643408-4-4
Paper, 8.25″ x 5.5″, $9.95

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