An Italian Feast Coming in March

Coming in March, available on AMAZON

A sequel to Clifford A. Wright’s groundbreaking A Mediterranean Feast, which won the 2000 James Beard award for Cookbook of the Year and the James Beard award for the Best Writing on Food, An Italian Feast celebrates the cuisines of the Italian provinces from Como to Palermo. An illustrated culinary guide and vade mecum (book of ready reference) meant to be the most comprehensive book on Italian cuisine, it includes 1,000 recipes from the 109 provinces of Italy’s 20 regions. 

An Italian Feast is a book about Italian food, how Italians cook, eat, and how their food is an intimate part of their culture, perhaps even a defining element of “Italianness.” It is the first book—in any language—to comprehensively explore the gastronomy and cuisine not just of Italy, and not just the regions of Italy, but all 109 provinces of Italy, linking each with each other and their alimentary landscape in terms of history, agriculture, economics, and the material culture of creative food illustrated with 1,000 recipes, such as:

  • Bazzoffia dell’Agro Pontino (Thick Soup of Spring Vegetables and Eggs) from Latina
  • Boccolotti con le Saba e le Noci (Large Rigatoni with Grape Must and Walnuts) from Marche
  • Tortano con Porri e Salsicce (Stuffed Bread with Leeks and Sausage) from Benevento
  • Zuppa di Pesce alla Catanese (Fish Soup from Catania)
  • Casonsèi della Bergamasca (Ravioli from Bergamo)


There is a foundation to cooking, and likewise a foundation to understanding cuisine. Italy’s cuisine is as complex as its history, economics, society, and agriculture, informed by the creative impulse of countless Italians who have, in the face of epochs of poverty, misery, and war, still expressed their joie de vivre—or gioia di vivere—through cooking and other outlets. By seeking a foundation in Italy’s philosophy and history; its evolution from cities to states; and the interrelatedness of myriad facets of its economies, trade, and agriculture, An Italian Feast captures the superstructure of Italian gastronomy.

A culture’s cooking is not a monument built of stone; it is not understood through mere recipes. Cuisine is a paradoxical cultural phenomenon: concrete and ephemeral, codified and innovative, ever-evolving and yet static and repetitive. Cuisine is also recognizable; self-identifying people of a culture recognize their cuisine. One can speak of a canon of culinary preparations, rooted in the agricultural landscape of Italy and the mentality of the Italian cook, that Italians recognize as dishes that are theirs—that form their culinary heritage and their gastronomic identity. This book is an exploration and unfolding of that culinary heritage.

An Italian Feast examines how and what Italians cook and eat, why they cook and eat what they do, and how food informs their consciousness, both individual and collective, and therefore their culture. This is not a collection of “typical Italian recipes” but rather a book of exemplary dishes from each province of Italy that hopes to preserve the heirloom recipes that reveal the molecular nature of Italian cooking, with the village as atom and the family as neutron. This book is a culinary archeology meant to honor the old ways and culinary heritage of Italy and provide both historical and philosophical insight into the Italian culinary consciousness. When you prepare the recipes in An Italian Feast, you will be cooking and eating the unaltered and exact food of Italians past and present.


CLIFFORD A. WRIGHT won the James Beard Cookbook of the Year and the James Beard award for the Best Writing on Food in 2000 for A Mediterranean Feast. He is the author of 18 other books on cooking, food, politics, and history. and

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