Virtual Gourmet

  May 28, 2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 





                                                    THE EASY WAY RESTAURATEURS CAN                                                                                                                   PAY WORKERS A GOOD WAGE . . .
                                            AND WHY IT WILL NEVER WORK IN THE U.S.

                                                                            By John Mariani

By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani


On this week's episode of my WVOX Radio Show "Almost Golden," on Wed. May 31 at 11AM EDT,I will be interviewing FRED MINNICK, foremost expert on American spirits. Go to: The episode will also be archived at: almostgolden.




                                                                                    By John Mariani


         M.I.T. publishes a “Living Wage Calculator” that determines what is “a minimum subsistence wage for persons living in the United States.” Which sounds pretty grim on all counts, especially since the number is always higher than the official minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. In Coffee County, Alabama, a living wage for a family of  two working adults with two children is $21.29; in Orange County, California, $32.40; in San Francisco, $35.01.
       Yet, the waitstaff in most U.S. restaurants may make only minimum wage and must depend upon tips to get anywhere near a living wage after a week’s work. But the difference between what a waiter might make at, say, a Denny’s anywhere, as opposed to a fine dining restaurant charging a $400 fixed price for a meal (before wine and tax), is a huge discrepancy, even if the server is left a 15% to 20% tip. It is not at all unusual for a waiter in a top restaurant in New York, Chicago, Miami, Washington or Beverly Hills, even in an upscale steak house where a ribeye costs $75, to make $100,000 a year—a lot of it in cash. With pastas now running $30 and up, it’s easy for a guest to pay $100 per person at an Italian place; Sushi bars can cost much more. A bartender alone might earn $500 a night in a place where drinks are $18 and up.
         It used to be the case that a diner would not tip 15% to 20% on the liquor and wine part of the bill, but not anymore. Thus, at a table that runs up a food bill in Vegas for $1,000, plus $5,000 for wine, people tip on a $6,000 bill. Granted, those who can afford to do so might as well. Tipping has always been a form of showing off. And, although expenditures for business meals (50% deductible) are still not at pre-Covid levels, tables at very expensive restaurants around the country are hard to come by after six o’clock.
         Yet, the battle between management and labor goes on at every level in the restaurant business, which has a very low profit margin and is very susceptible to rising prices in food, utilities and rent. But here’s the rub: In most of Europe and much of Asia, a gratuity is not expected (even though Americans feel they must leave one). The reason is that being a waiter in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece and other countries is considered a good job with a good to very good paycheck, along with full benefits, and, while not disdained, tips are regarded as something one gets only if in a lowly profession. Waiters on the continent consider their profession as honorable as any.
        In Japan a tip may even be considered an insult. It should be noted that many Europeans pretend they don’t know that they should tip waiters when visiting the U.S. In the UK, though not in Australia, a 12% tip has become common, often added to the bill by the restaurant.
         Of course, a no-tipping policy based on paying dining staff a living wage raises prices on the menu, but consider that your bill will, usually, be a bit lower when service is included—as mandated by law—so that, say, a steak in France costing $50 will show up on the bill at $50, including taxes and a 12% to 14% service charge; in the U.S. adding a 20% tip would increase it to $60 plus tax.  And if you tipped 20% on the bill in Europe, you’re actually tipping about 30%. (In France the charge is called servis compris; in Italy servizio incluso.) There is often a cover charge (couvert, coperto) of two or three euros added that pays for tablecloth and bread.
         Such a system seems entirely sensible to me and to most people around the world where a living wage is paid to workers. Yet, its chances of succeeding in the U.S. are next to zero, and, in fact, in those few restaurants that have tried it, the idea has failed miserably: people either complained over it being imposed, or left a big tip anyway. Often servers oppose it because, as noted, they can make so much more money from tips than if paid a living wage. And the idea is wholly opposed by the National Restaurant Association, based in D.C., which vociferously fought the Raise Act of 2021 “because it would raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $15 per hour over five years and eliminate the tip credit for tipped employees,”  and because “small businesses cannot easily absorb a dramatic labor cost increase and higher wages would lead to employers cutting back on worker hours and/or eliminating positions.” The organization contends that “tipped restaurant employees on average make between $19-$25/hour.” Yet, ironically, the NRA cites the fact that “29 states and 55 municipalities already have a minimum wage that supersedes the federal minimum wage.” 
The problem on the consumers’ side is that Americans have gotten so used to tipping, even to the point of showing off, that they overwhelmingly reject the notion of eliminating tipping. But you can’t have it both ways. Either employers must pay at least a living wage—which in most restaurants above the fast food level would be far below what servers actually do take home—or you will continue to see complaints that the consumer is paying an exorbitant price for a night out.
         You can pay a high price within the European system, too, but the anxiety and insecurity that comes with the plopping down of the bill in the U.S. is completely moot in Europe. And so the debate may never end, even as Americans tip more and more to servers they somehow believe need to be subsidized when they are making incomes at or above the median national household income of $70,000.




Fushimi Times Square

311 West 43rd Street


By John Mariani



            Nightclub restaurants of enormous scale, dazzling décor and long bars stocked with hundreds of liquors have become as common in major American cities as they are in Tokyo’s Ginza. Places like Tao and Buddakan in New York are as much party venues as they are dining rooms, while the London-based chain Hakkasan put more focus on the  food. This last was for many years a New York Theater District fixture, but it has been taken over by Fushimi Times Square and completely renovated, with several dining rooms that put the emphasis on the food menu along with a slew of specialty cocktails.
            Sake barrels, torii gates, dramatic Asian artwork are the backdrop for 230 seats that includes a splendid bar and a semi-private booth with a lazy Susan, where my friends and I sat away from the bustle up front and the DJ lounge area. It really is all quite handsome, very colorful and lighting casts shadows everywhere.
        Owners Daniel and Ben Chen named the restaurant for the city of Fushimi in Kyoto, famed for a series of red torii gates at the temples of the Fushimi Inari Shrine.  Their first Fushimi opened on Staten Island, which is not  exactly a crucible of Japanese dining. The reason was simple: the owners lived there and wanted to see if it could fill a niche. It did, and they opened another and one in Brooklyn.
      Now Times Square. The menu is predominantly Japanese, with a large sushi component, but the owners apparently want to appeal to an American audience as well, offering chicken and tomahawk steak on a very large menu spread over several pages. It takes some explaining, but the very friendly staff is readily up to the task.  Since I haven’t been to Fushimi when it’s going full tilt on weekends, I can’t measure how goes the flow, but on a midweek summer’s night, the experience was almost genteel.
        Given the size of the menu, with four soups ($7-$16), 14 hot appetizers ($8-$29), five salads (7-$16), seven cold appetizers ($16-$18), 13 special rolls ($18-$28), 15 nigiri sushi items ($14-$32 for an order), four bento boxes ($32), 11 main courses ($32-$54), 8 sushi combinations ($42-$79), 12 hand rolls ($9-$15), five side dishes ($10-$16) and desserts, if you don’t know exactly what you’re in the mood for, you’re going to need some help from the staff. We stayed with the Japanese offerings.
        Largely my party put ourselves in the chef’s trust, beginning with a good-sized bowl of steamed edamame with Maldon sea salt, and both tender pork potstickers (fried or steamed) and vegetable gyoza. Among the cold apps, we had spicy tuna gyoza with wasabi tobiko, unexpected mozzarella cheese, yuzu tobiko, a sweet chili emulsion and jalapeño guacamole with  spicy togarashi —quite a display, and one meant for sharing. Silky yellowtail took on added luster from a yuzu-truffle soy vinaigrette. The real surprise—and a bright idea—was a sashimi pizza, with a choice of tuna, salmon or yellowtail on jalapeño-studded guacamole laced with a spicy aïoli and dark balsamic glaze atop a crispy tortilla.
        I was very much looking forward to an array of sushi, which came as a "rainbow roll Fushimi style,” a California roll topped with tuna, salmon, whitefish and avocado. Another, called “Out of Control,” lived up to its name,  composed of tuna, salmon and asparagus roll topped with seared yellowtail salmon and tuna spicy mayo with a crispy rice pearl. More sushi was sent forth from the bar, 12 pieces in the “Chef’s Sushi” and 18 in his sushi and sashimi platter.
        The variety of flavors, textures and condiments was delightful,  although the same three fish species—salmon, tuna, yellowtail— kept repeating.  I would have preferred a selection from the à la carte sushi category that listed maguro, unagi, ikura salmon roe, hotate scallop, botan ebi spot shrimp and uni sea urchin.
        Fushimi would not be out of place in the Ginza, and its young clientele is the same. The sushi and sashimi may have an assembly line cast, but then, you’re not paying $500 and up to sit at a cramped sushi counter. It would be difficult not to have a lot of fun here and a good deal of sake from a stellar list.


Open for lunch and dinner daily.


By  John Mariani


To read previous chapters of GOING AFTER HARRY LIME go to the archive




“It was not the kind of surroundings in which any one with free will — if such a man existed — would have chosen to await death.”—Graham Greene, The Honorary Consul (1973).


      Kim Philby’s apartment was on the sixth floor, up a winding stairwell. Rufina Philby (left) was already waiting outside the apartment in front of the studded leather door, beckoning them to come in but not even saying “hello.”
         “Come in. My husband is in the bedroom and will be out in a few minutes.”  She did not offer them anything to drink. The place smelled of curry spices and bacon. Katie and David heard Kim Philby coughing loudly in the next room.
         The apartment was small and cramped by all the furniture, books and memorabilia acquired over decades. David’s policeman’s eyes ran quickly over all he could see; Katie’s surveyed it all slowly. 
The furniture was cheap and more or less functional. An old radio with ivory buttons sat on a low table. On another, an old manual typewriter. Above a tatty sofa in a flowery fabric hung two frayed animal furs, perhaps Siberian wolf pelts, and below them two antique pearl inlaid Afghan dueling pistols. Against the remaining wall were shelves of books, which Katie perused while David stood at the rear window looking down at the street at a school playground where a few children were kicking around a soccer ball.
         The shelves seemed stocked in equal measure with Russian and English books, including more than a dozen volumes of the Cambridge Modern History.  There were scores of mystery novels—Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Graham Greene—and Katie noticed a copy of Anthony Trollope’s 1869 novel He Knew He Was Right, and jotted it down in her note pad. There was a photo of Philby with what appeared to be his granddaughter.
      Still standing, David said to the women, “Yesterday, Mrs. Philby, you said it was unlikely your husband would want to speak with us. May I ask what might have changed his mind?”
         The woman put out her lower lip, blinked for a few seconds, then said, “My husband is dying. He has very little time left. He believes it is time to reveal what his comrades did to him. They cannot hurt him any further.”
         She lit a cigarette and looked off towards the window, not at the Americans.   
“You know that when he escaped to Moscow, my husband—we had not yet met—was told he would be treated like a hero. We have an expression—kak syr v masle—like cheese in butter. Instead, he was treated like someone worth nothing to them. Even when he tried to help them, they pushed him away. Then they told the world he was dead and have hidden the truth ever since. As if he had never existed. My husband needs to speak with someone. He decided it would be you.  And if you betray him,”—the woman shrugged—“nothing will change and he will soon be dead.”
         Katie didn’t know if she felt sorry at all for Philby but was touched by Rufina’s grief about her husband, whom by all accounts she truly loved. David was suspicious of the woman’s explanation of why Philby agreed to see Katie and him.  Katie said, putting her hand on her heart, “Well, I can promise you we will not reveal anything your husband doesn’t want us to.”
         At that a voice came from behind: “Well, well, so you are the two Americans who think I’m Harry Lime!”
         Katie and David turned to find Kim Philby before them and immediately recognized how the man in better days had impressed men and cast a spell on women. He was tall, paunchy now, with a British upper class lilt in his baritone voice. His eyes, behind thick glasses, were as blue as had been reported, his nose patrician, his hair thinner but brushed back at the sides. The face was flabby now, but had this not been a walk-up apartment in a decrepit section of Moscow, Katie and David might have taken him for a retired British military man, his jaw out, with a mouth that barely hinted at a welcoming smile. All he lacked was a double-breasted blue blazer with regimental necktie and campaign ribbons and medals pinned on it.
         Instead, he wore gray corduroy slacks and a loose plaid shirt with its cuffs rolled back to his elbows.  He offered the Americans a cigarette but they said no thank you. Katie mumbled, “I don’t smoke,” realizing it was bad form to sound superior to a man obviously dying of lung cancer. Philby took one out of the pack and lit up, taking a long draw then coughing with a congested wheeze.
         “I see you’ve met my wife,” he said. “Rufina, did you offer these Americans some tea?” which was a signal for her to leave the room for a while. “Sit down, sit down. I’m afraid the springs on that couch have seen better days but then haven’t we all?”
         Philby backed into his favorite chair and flicked his cigarette into an ashtray.   “So, how is my friend Lentov? Enjoying the lap of luxury as I am? Poetic justice, you know. Me here, him there, on different sides.”
         David told him about their meeting with Lentov, deciding not to mention what Southey had told them. Katie asked if she could use her pocket recorder and Philby just waved his hand in consent.
         “So,” said Philby, “what do you want to know?” His fist was at his lips to stifle another cough. “All about Graham and me and Holly Martins and Harry Lime? And how I even fooled Graham all those years. He never forgave me, but he also never stopped being my friend.”
        David spoke first. “How did you feel about betraying Greene?”
        Philby let out a light chuckle and said, “Actually, I felt worse about that than I did about spying for Russia. But Graham understood my motives better than anyone.”
         He picked up a book on the table next to his chair. It was the memoir he’d written, My Silent War. He opened it to the Introduction and handed the book to Katie. “Would you be so kind as to read that, Miss Cavuto? There, where I’ve put a little paper tab. It should tell you something.”
         Katie took the book and saw the Introduction had been written by Greene:  
The end, of course, in his eyes is held to justify the means, but this is a view taken, perhaps less openly, by most men involved in politics, if we are to judge them by their actions, whether the politician be a Disraeli or a Wilson. He betrayed his country–-yes, perhaps he did, but who among us has not committed treason to something or someone more important than a country? In Philby's own eyes he was working for the shape of things to come from which his country would benefit."
         David felt revulsion at what he’d just heard but said nothing. Philby’s way of justifying his treason was to have someone else say it, in this case the friend he had lied to and betrayed without a backward glance. Katie shared David’s reaction while trying to fathom Greene’s own blindness in the matter of Kim Philby. 
Katie was also surprised by Greene’s use of the phrase “the shape of things to come,” which she felt sure he’d lifted—on purpose—from the science fiction novel from 1933 of the same name by H.G. Wells in which he foretold World War II, then a descent of the modern world into chaos, followed by a benevolent dictatorship and finally a Utopian vision for the future. Could someone as jaundiced about modern society as was Greene think that was what Philby had in mind by betraying the West?
         There were so many aspects of the Philby story she wanted to get into but knew her time with him was going to be brief, perhaps ended abruptly if she struck the wrong nerve. David was perfectly willing to let Katie handle the interview along the lines of the Greene-Philby connection.
         Philby suddenly had a coughing fit that lasted half a minute, phlegmy, shaking him and making him gasp. His wife arrived carrying a tea tray that she put down, then began to pat her husband on his back but said nothing until he recovered from the fit, asking if he was going to have some tea with the Americans. Philby just waved his hand, still taking deep breaths.
         The tea was served Russian style, in glasses not cups, without sugar but with cherry preserves on the side. The pouring and stirring allowed Philby to recover and begin speaking, flicking cigarette ashes from his trousers.
         Like Lentov, Philby had a rambling story to tell, whether or not it had anything to do with Graham Greene. It was told without chronology, flipping back and forth to pre-war England, then to Beirut and Moscow and back again.  Philby apparently had no desire to issue any apologies, though it was clear that he felt betrayed by his Russian comrades even as he made fun of his current circumstances. He reminisced about what he did miss in England—including his favorite marmalade—and how he listened to the BBC broadcasts on radio when its signal was clear enough to receive. He asked about certain figures in his past, not expecting that Katie and David would have any knowledge of them, and tried to sound resigned to his fate.
         “I forget who wrote it,” he said, “I think it was John Kenneth Galbraith (right), whom I met once. He said, ‘Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.’ A little pat but largely true. The difference is that neither capitalism nor communism has ever worked as it’s supposed to. As soon as the flag is raised in either camp, it becomes soiled by those who wish to use it for their own purposes, and those purposes are always venal.”
         “Are you saying you were naïve when you sided with communism?” asked David.
         “Probably, but I was a true believer. One look at Britain’s arrant colonial policies will dash any thought of capitalism working for those colonized. Perhaps I was really more of a Socialist, though that’s not really a belief, more like a notion. At Cambridge everyone we knew trifled with Marxism, and half of those were homosexual. Burgess (left) was flagrant about it, which was one of the reasons he couldn’t stand living in Moscow, because he’d be arrested as a pervert. He did have a lover, though, then his liver gave out. Anthony Blunt (right) was one, too; hung with the arts crowd and refused the KGB’s help squirreling him out of England.  Said he’d rather die shivering in London than freezing to death in Moscow.”

John Mariani, 2016




  By John Mariani



Anytime Is a Good Time for a Good Rosé But They Take On a Special Appeal in Summer

 By John Mariani


        Duty-bound to do an annual wine article about rosé wines at the beginning of summer, all wine writers, including myself, approach the job with mixed feelings. First, because rosés are perfectly delightful year round and go better with some foods than many whites or reds do. Second, the rosé market has expanded so rapidly that there is far more choice, but also far more poor quality to choose from—not to mention the truly awful treacly sweet versions that have always been around.
         I remain something of a traditionalist when it comes to rosés, meaning I am most fond of those made in Provence and the south of France, where they are produced by crushing red grapes and then allowing the juice to remain on the skins for 24 to 48 hours. The longer the skin contact, the deeper hued the wine will be. Grenache is the predominate grape used in Provence, while those of Listrac in the Haut-Médoc are also well regarded. Often very dry, Southern French wines have the distinct aroma of rose flowers.
         Other, usually lesser rosés, are made by pressing white and red grapes together, which results in wines difficult to describe as being consistent. Too often modern rosé tastes watery, or like fairly bland white wines; others sell well on the basis of their lovely colorations.


SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE ROSÉ DEL VALLE DE UCO 2019 ($22)—Balbo is one of Argentina’s premier wine producers who prove they are exemplary with every varietal and style they adopt, like this rosé made from 60% Malbec and 40% Pinot Noir—both red grapes—which are harvested, refrigerated and separately pressed. Given its composition, the wine has a slightly fuller body than many other rosés, though still at only 12.5% alcohol. It has fresh fruitiness with some hazelnut notes, and would be excellent with grilled salmon.


FRESCOBALDI ALÌE 2021 ($21)—Alìe is one of the sea nymphs of Greek myth, and this is a good seafood wine. Made from Syrah and Vermentino as an I.G.T. Toscana appellation, it is from 2021, spending three months in stainless steel, so the age gives it a nice shade of coral pink and richer flavors, arriving at 12% alcohol. The grapes are softly pressed and spend 12 hours or more on the must and the wine retains mineral notes along with a pleasing citrus zest.


FIDDLEHEAD CELLARS “PINK FIDDLE” ROSÉ 2022 ($32)—This is the estate’s first foray into rosé, a single-vineyard offering from Santa Barbara County’s Santa Rita Hills. Winemaker Kathy Joseph ferments Pinot Noir in stainless steel from de-stemmed grapes. It’s a pricey rosé but, if not unique, the use of Pinot Noir gives it a finer intensity than those made from white grapes, and there’s plenty of fruit here to go with cheeses of every kind, even blue.


VIÑA LEYDA ROSÉ 2022 ($14)—Made in vineyards near the cool coast of Chile’s Leyda Valley, this, too, is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown in soil that has a good deal of red clay and some granite, so it has both a mellowness and a faint edge of minerality. Fermentation was about 17 days in stainless and the juice was taken off its lees, then aged for seven months to help the flavors develop and acids balance. With 13% alcohol it goes well with shellfish of all kinds and nicely with chicken on the grill.


FRANCIACORTA ROSÉ SPARKLING ($38)—The interest in sparkling rosés has picked up a good deal of momentum as people realize that modern examples are not like those party bubblies like Riunite and Mateus. Franciacorta has been at it for a long while and is very popular in Italy and Europe, to be enjoyed just about any time before, during or after a meal, including with dessert. It’s a blend whose make-up differs each year of Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco and Erbamat.  So there’s a good deal more complexity here than in competitors’ wines, and its versatility makes it ideal for dishes based on vegetables.


THE MILL KEEPER 2022 ($21)—Here’s a bold attempt at combining 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 13% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 7% Grenache, 2% Malbec and 2% Petite Vera Sirah—a blend that sounds like a Bordeaux-Rhone oddity. Remarkably, it has not only a pleasingly pink color and appealing 13% alcohol, but the Gamble Family Vineyards in the Napa Valley has produced something quite elegant and certainly tasting like a light red that can go well with pork, veal or pesto.




"Thank God, Veggie Burgers With Actual Vegetables Are Making a Comeback" By Bettina Makalintal, (5/2/23)



 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from

   The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books) is a  novella, and for anyone who loves dogs, Christmas, romance, inspiration, even the supernatural, I hope you'll find this to be a treasured  favorite. The  story concerns how, after a New England teacher, his wife and their two daughters adopt a stray puppy found in their barn in northern Maine, their lives seem full of promise. But when tragedy strikes, their wonderful dog Lazarus and the spirit of Christmas are the only things that may bring his master back from the edge of despair. 


“What a huge surprise turn this story took! I was completely stunned! I truly enjoyed this book and its message.” – Actress Ali MacGraw

“He had me at Page One. The amount of heart, human insight, soul searching, and deft literary strength that John Mariani pours into this airtight novella is vertigo-inducing. Perhaps ‘wow’ would be the best comment.” – James Dalessandro, author of Bohemian Heart and 1906.

“John Mariani’s Hound in Heaven starts with a well-painted portrayal of an American family, along with the requisite dog. A surprise event flips the action of the novel and captures us for a voyage leading to a hopeful and heart-warming message. A page turning, one sitting read, it’s the perfect antidote for the winter and promotion of holiday celebration.” – Ann Pearlman, author of The Christmas Cookie Club and A Gift for my Sister.

“John Mariani’s concise, achingly beautiful novella pulls a literary rabbit out of a hat – a mash-up of the cosmic and the intimate, the tragic and the heart-warming – a Christmas tale for all ages, and all faiths. Read it to your children, read it to yourself… but read it. Early and often. Highly recommended.” – Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Pinkerton’s War, The Sinking of The Eastland, and The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury.

“Amazing things happen when you open your heart to an animal. The Hound in Heaven delivers a powerful story of healing that is forged in the spiritual relationship between a man and his best friend. The book brings a message of hope that can enrich our images of family, love, and loss.” – Dr. Barbara Royal, author of The Royal Treatment.


The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani (Bloomsbury USA, $35)

Modesty forbids me to praise my own new book, but let me proudly say that it is an extensive revision of the 4th edition that appeared more than a decade ago, before locavores, molecular cuisine, modernist cuisine, the Food Network and so much more, now included. Word origins have been completely updated, as have per capita consumption and production stats. Most important, for the first time since publication in the 1980s, the book includes more than 100 biographies of Americans who have changed the way we cook, eat and drink -- from Fannie Farmer and Julia Child to Robert Mondavi and Thomas Keller.

"This book is amazing! It has entries for everything from `abalone' to `zwieback,' plus more than 500 recipes for classic American dishes and drinks."--Devra First, The Boston Globe.

"Much needed in any kitchen library."--Bon Appetit.

Now in Paperback, too--How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan)  has won top prize  from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  It is a rollicking history of the food culture of Italy and its ravenous embrace in the 21st century by the entire world. From ancient Rome to la dolce vita of post-war Italy, from Italian immigrant cooks to celebrity chefs, from pizzerias to high-class ristoranti, this chronicle of a culinary diaspora is as much about the world's changing tastes, prejudices,  and dietary fads as about our obsessions with culinary fashion and style.--John Mariani

"Eating Italian will never be the same after reading John Mariani's entertaining and savory gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it won over appetites worldwide. . . . This book is such a tasteful narrative that it will literally make you hungry for Italian food and arouse your appetite for gastronomical history."--Don Oldenburg, USA Today. 

"Italian restaurants--some good, some glitzy--far outnumber their French rivals.  Many of these establishments are zestfully described in How Italian Food Conquered the World, an entertaining and fact-filled chronicle by food-and-wine correspondent John F. Mariani."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal.

"Mariani admirably dishes out the story of Italy’s remarkable global ascent to virtual culinary hegemony....Like a chef gladly divulging a cherished family recipe, Mariani’s book reveals the secret sauce about how Italy’s cuisine put gusto in gusto!"--David Lincoln Ross,

"Equal parts history, sociology, gastronomy, and just plain fun, How Italian Food Conquered the World tells the captivating and delicious story of the (let's face it) everybody's favorite cuisine with clarity, verve and more than one surprise."--Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily

"A fantastic and fascinating read, covering everything from the influence of Venice's spice trade to the impact of Italian immigrants in America and the evolution of alta cucina. This book will serve as a terrific resource to anyone interested in the real story of Italian food."--Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS-TV's Ciao Italia.

"John Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their way into our hearts, minds, and stomachs.  It's a story of pleasure over pomp and taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union Square Cafe,  The Modern, and Maialino.



MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Publisher: John Mariani. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Gerry Dawes, Geoff Kalish. Contributing Photographer: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.


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