Book review of a new cookbook about the cuisine of Italy’s capital.
Tasting Rome By Katie Parla and Kristina Gill (Clarkson Potter, $39)
Sometimes it takes an outsider to see most clearly. As American expats, Parla and Gill present the best of Rome in this new cookbook, while not shying away from its contradictions. The arrival of Rome’s local artichoke, carciofo romanseco is celebrated in a recipe for shaved artichoke salad though a later anecdote laments the declining daily markets (mercado rionali). A gorgeous recipe for summer amatricana popular at trattoria is given alongside a subsequent note that workers from South Asia and North Africa have largely replaced the nonna in restaurant kitchens. A dish of spicy fish with couscous is lauded while noting the sad history of Jewish ghettos. Far from being confusing, or off-putting, the books puts food precisely at the forefront of social change while revealing its historical cultural importance. This compilation of Roman recipes, reflections on city life and photographs, is a modern, refreshing, and candid exploration of cucina romana (Roman cuisine).
This original article first appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.