Virtual Gourmet

  March 5,   2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


John Wayne and Jean Arthur in "A Lady Takes a Chance" (1943)




By John Mariani

By John Mariani

By John Mariani


      By Geoff Kalish



On this week's episode of my WVOX Radio Show "Almost Golden," on Wed. March 8 at 11AM EST,I will be interviewing James Gavin, biographer of PEGGY LEE.  Go to: The episode will also be archived at: almostgolden.



By John Mariani


        You Only Live Twice (1964), the eleventh and last of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, was by far the most crammed with food and drink references, starting off with several chapters concerning Bond’s excessive drinking, caused by his grief over the murder of his wife by Ernst Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  Right at the beginning Bond is being entertained by a geisha named “Trembling Leaf” and drinking sake from a flask (“rather than these ridiculous thimbles”) with his Japanese counterpart, Tiger Tanaka, who says only Sumo wrestlers drink as much as Bond, calling him an “eight-flask man.”
            Back in London, M, his superior at MI6, tells a neurologist Bond’s drinking has affected his work, saying “he isn’t any longer” the agency’s best man, even considering relieving him of is 00 number.  The neurologist suggests a new mission would snap Bond out of his morose temperament.
        Dispatched as a diplomat to Japan, Bond first takes his assistant Mary Goodnight to a dinner of roast grouse and Champagne at Scott’s restaurant before flying on a Japan Airlines DC-8 to Tokyo, where he checks into the Okura (below)hotel. There he meets an Australian contact named Dikko Henderson, who takes him for serious drinking in the Ginza at Melody’s Bar and a dinner of unagi (eel) and Suntory whiskey.
            The next day Tanaka tells Bond his job is to assassinate Dr. Guntram Shatterhand, who makes deadly poisons in his “Garden of Death.” To do so Bond must disguise himself as a mute Japanese peasant miner named Taro Todoroki, who can get on Shatterhand’s estate. Before doing so, Tanaka invites Bond to a dinner of quail’s eggs, seaweed and live lobster, of which Bond says, “Shimata! (Damnit!) I have made a mistake. It crossed my mind that honorable Japanese lobster might not like being eaten alive.” The next day Tanaka takes him to a Kobe beef farm and a local restaurant to eat the specialty “of the grade you wouldn’t find in the most expensive restaurant in Tokyo,” with a saucer of blood that Bond refuses.
           Bond stays at the Miyako, where he orders eggs Benedict and a pint of Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey, and afterwards boards the Murasaki Maru cargo ship (right) and arrives at the town of Beppu, checking into an inn and enjoying five flasks of sake along with fugu (below), the poisonous fish that only a trained chef can make edible. Bond finds it tasteless.
            He begins training with a former movie actress named Kissy and enjoys all-seafood meals with dried seaweed and bean curd. She also slips an aphrodisiac into his sukiyaki.
            At Shatterhand’s estate Bond finds Blofeld, dressed as a samurai.  Blofeld challenges him to a duel, with Blofeld wielding a sword and Bond a wooden staff. Bond kills Blofeld, then blows up the castle, but during his escape he suffers a head injury that causes serious amnesia. His death is reported in the press.
        He is nursed by Kissy, and lives as a fisherman Kissy becomes pregnant and hopes to marry him, but reading a newspaper story about Vladivostok that makes him believe he had a history in Russia that might jog his memory.

        The movie version of You Only Live Twice (1967), starring Sean Connery, has little of the gourmand nature of the novel and no reference to 007’s dissolute drinking.
        The title for both came from a haiku by Matsuo Bashō (left)—“You only live twice/Once when you are born/And once when you look death in the face,” although the lyrics of the film’s score (which was a hit for Nancy Sinatra) read “Once in your life and once in your dreams,” referencing the first scene, in which 007 is seen to be murdered by assassins while he is in bed with a Hong Kong girl, who had asked him if Chinese women taste different from western women. Bond answers, “Like Peking duck is different from Russian caviar, but I love them both.”
            Bond’s murder is, however, a ruse to fool enemies into thinking him dead, with even a mock burial at sea from the HMS Tenby (below). Instead, he shows up on a British submarine where he meets M and Q, who order him to investigate the hijacking of a NASA Jupiter 16 spacecraft in the Sea of Japan.
            In Tokyo, he meets Dikko Henderson, who offers 007 a Martini, which Bond notices is not shaken to his preference and is Russian vodka, which is probably Stolichnaya.
        Henderson is killed before he can relay details about the spacecraft. Bond pursues the assassin and kills him, taking his clothes so he can be driven in the getaway car to Osato Chemicals, where Bond breaks into the office safe to steal secret documents of the company's president, Mr. Osato. While there he fights and kills one of Osato’s men, hiding the body in a liquor cabinet from which he takes a shot of vodka, toasts the man he’s just killed, then finds the vodka tastes terrible, looks at the label and sees it’s Siamese, not Russian.
       Bond is chased by Osato’s men, but is picked up by agent Aki, who then runs into a subway station where Bond follows, only to fall down a trap door that enters upon Tiger Tanaka’s headquarters. There they pore over the documents and find a photo of the cargo ship
 Ning-Po, with a microdot message saying the tourist who took the photo was killed as a security precaution.
            Tanaka takes Bond on his private train, offers him a Martini but Bond says he’d prefer sake, which he says he enjoys “especially when it’s served at the right temperature—98.4 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Bond returns to Osato’s, posing as a potential buyer. Osato offers him a glass of Dom Pérignon ’59. Osato is revealed to be part of SPECTRE and orders 007 to be killed, but he escapes a group of henchmen, again rescued by Aki, who drives him to Kobe, where the Ning-Po (left)is docked. They find the ship was used to transport rocket fuel.
        They are again pursued and Aki gets away while Bond is captured, knocked unconscious and tied up on the Ning-Po .  Osato’s beautiful secretary Brandt interrogates Bond, then seduces him. They fly to Tokyo, but Brandt bails out of the plane, leaving Bond to land the craft before planted explosives go off. In Tokyo he checks into the Hilton Hotel (below).
            A Soviet spacecraft is then hijacked and brought to Blofeld’s lair within a hollowed-out volcano. The intent is to start a war between the U.S. and U.S.S.R.
Blofeld blames Osato and Brandt for their failure to finish off Bond. He throws Brandt into a pool of piranhas and demands Osato rid him of Bond once and for all.
            Meanwhile, Bond undergoes training with Tanaka’s ninja fighters at the Himeji Castle  in Kyoto. He also trains to be a fisherman diver, changes his western appearance and has a fake wedding to Kissy Suzuki, where they drink sake. That night he begins to eat an oyster, but, realizing he will not be sleeping with Kissy, stops. 
Together they reconnoiter at the volcano, Bond sneaks in, frees the U.S. and Soviet astronauts and takes control of the launch room wherein Blofeld plans to shoot off the ICBMs. Bond puts them on self-destruct as Tanaka’s men attack the volcano, which explodes after the ninjas, Bond and Kissy escape.
    Injured and suffering sever amnesia, Bond is nursed back to health by Kissy, who becomes pregnant, Bond is ready to marry her, but then reads a newspaper story about Vladivostak that jogs his memory about once having been there.


NEW YORK CORNER               



                                                                299 Bowery
                                                         By John Mariani


         For the past couple of years there has been a growing number of Mexican restaurants, some run by Americans, that have taken traditions of regional fare from Oaxaca, Baja, Monterey and Guadalajara and transformed them with both respect and commitment to better ingredients of the kind you find in the huge city markets south of the border.  I have every reason to believe that the growth in numbers will increase, with more and more diversity, largely because Americans are already very familiar with Mexican food in a way they are not with recent trendy cuisines like Nordic, Peruvian and Korean.
        Ixta is a fine new example on The Bowery, having taken over the crushingly loud DBGB Kitchen & Bar, which closed in 2017. You’d hardly know the place now, for what was once a lackluster and colorless room is now an evocation of bold Latino hues and decorations, including intricately hand-carved totem columns and a 12-foot hand painted Tulum-inspired jaguar named “Perla” by local artist Fernando Leon and animated NFTs projected throughout the restaurant, created by artist Ken Forbes. There are 165 seats and 10 at the bar, where the collection of tequilas and mezcals is impressive and go well in the array of exotic cocktails created by Miami native Jenny Castillo.
         On a midweek night when the place was about three-quarters full the noise level in the dining room was not bad at all, at least after the pounding techno disco music was turned down. (The owners say they are re-thinking the music.)    In search of the meaning of the name Ixta, I found that it may derive from an Aztec legend of a princess turned into the Iztacchihuatl volcano.
        Owners Mike Himani, Erol West and Marcelo Martins feature a menu with many Oaxacan dishes in modern versions by Mexico City-born chef Francisco Blanco, previously at Le Cirque. His menu is categorized under appetizers, raw bar, salads, tacos, entrees, specials and sides, and pretty much everything is made to be shared.
        You certainly want a bowl of guacamole studded with pepitas, salsa matcha and Serrano chilies ($18). Really innovative is the dish of truffled tamale tots with plenty of gooey cheese and prosciutto ($32), a dish not to be missed. Smoked and mezcal-cured salmon—not a fish I associate with any part of Mexico—came sloppily atop corn crisps with sesame and salmon roe ($26), and just didn’t work.
         What did work was a delicious, nicely seasoned tuna tostada with a Japanese Morita ponzu, creamy avocado and black sesame ($23). The best ceviche to have is the combination of catch of the day, octopus, and shrimp with jalapeño, leche de tigre citrus marinade and heirloom tostadas ($27).
         Another unusual entry is the “original birria” ($21), a dish from Jalisco, composed of slowly cooked goat’s meat that retains all its juices, guacamole mousse, corn tortillas and a salsa taquera in a consommé. Straightforward crispy hake was done with a tomato and beer-based salsa borracho, jicama slaw and flour tortilla ($21).  These are dishes fit for main courses,  and, in fact, are somewhat more interesting than the entrees like the New York strip steak and roasted chicken. I do want to go back and try the enchiladas divorciadas ($27) of mole rojo and mole negro with vegetables.
         The specials on the menu include a whole branzino with avocado, tortillas and salsa, lemon and the smart addition of kurakake, usually made with dried fish and seaweed, which adds a further scent and taste of the ocean ($40).   Esquites is made with corn, turmeric, Parmesan cheese, and ancho chile ashes with a lemon emulsion ($12) as a side dish.
         Most of the time I look askance at the big-boned tomahawk steak, but Ixta’s is really superlative for its beefy taste, well enhanced by roasted sweet peppers, caramelized onion, sea salt and pico de gallo. The $200 price tag is high, but, weighing in at two pounds, it will readily serve four people.
         A delectable way to end off the meal is with either the fat, sugared fried bombolones with a scoop of ice cream or the rich Mexican chocolate pudding (right).
         No one leaves hungry at Ixta. In fact, you’ll likely leave with food for tomorrow, but more important, you’ll leave with a new sense of the regional variety and enticing seasoning of Mexican food of a kind you haven’t had before in this city.


Open for dinner nightly, for brunch Sat. & Sun.


By  John Mariani




        There were about twenty boxes on the cart.  David took a deep breath and opened the first. A half-hour later the second, but by then he’d learned what files could be run through quickly or discarded. Indeed, most of the files were bureaucratic correspondence about rules and regulations, hierarchies and legal documents. As he had with the American files, David was basically looking for two things: Names of criminals identified as working in Vienna from 1945 to 1950 and any allusions to drug trafficking that might include selling illegal pharmaceuticals.
           By one o’clock he’d gotten through half the files and decided to work through lunch in an effort to polish off the rest by the end of the afternoon.  Katie and he had allotted a week in London to do their research, so he needed to maximize his work time, especially since the files could be vast, even if few were revealing of anything.
            Ms. Hurley came in from time to time to ask if David needed anything—A glass of water, perhaps? Fresh pencil?—but he smiled and said no and went back to work. There wasn’t much of what he was looking for in the files and he suspected that asking for many more carts would be just as unproductive. 
He did find the names of British officers who served in Vienna during that time in various jobs, and he copied down those particularly active during the time Graham Greene would have been doing his own research for the movie’s script.  David doubted many would still be alive in 1999, especially the upper ranking officers, so his list was narrowed by choosing officers from the ranks of second lieutenant, lieutenant and captain.  A major, like Calloway in the movie, was likely to have been thirty or older in 1950, so he’d be around 80 in 1999, but he jotted down a few majors’ names too.
            After four o’clock—this was Tuesday, so the office stayed open till seven—David did find a thin file labeled CRIMINAL ACTIVITY/DRUG TRAFFICKING HS20MC-1950, which he pounced upon. But, before perusing its contents, David thought to himself that however much he was enjoying this chase it was very likely to be futile in the end. Thus far, he saw no possible links between Harry Lime and Kim Philby, who was not even working in Vienna during that period.              He rubbed his eyes, took a breath and proceeded to read over the files.  There was not much there but his interest was drawn to a fairly short list of those the British had investigated, monitored and in many cases arrested on drug trafficking charges. Unfortunately, the list was not broken out along the lines of what kinds of drugs were being sold. Some, like morphine, were highly profitable on the black market, but there was no specific reference to penicillin, which no one who was not sick would choose to take. Still, with what remained of his pencil point, David dutifully copied them all down, about forty of them, then compared them to the list he’d copied from the U.S. archives. He was delighted to see that there was a good deal of crossover, maybe fifteen names or so—those he underlined
along with many that were not.
            The crossover names included:           

Hermann Strauss. Austrian.  Deceased 10/10/1951.

Tomas Shumanov. Russian. Whereabouts unknown 3/4/1949.

Sigrid Schuster. Austrian. Deceased 7/9/48.

Lionel Townes.  British. Incarcerated 6/8/1949.

Susanna Kroner. Austrian. Deceased 12/3/1947.

Janos Szabor. Hungarian. Whereabouts unknown.

Oskar Gurning. German. Incarcerated 2/31/1946.

James Rodgers. American. Incarcerated 4/6/1947

Harold Neame. British. Whereabouts unknown.

Ingrid Spichler. Austrian. Incarcerated 12/5/1947.

Gyorgy Specankoff. Russian. Whereabouts unknown.

William Walters.  American. Incarcerated 10/5/1947.

Stephen Berwick. British. Incarcerated 4/18/1947.

Bela Czarky. Czechoslovakia. Deceased 11/6/1949.


            For no reason he could explain, certain of the new names on the British list looked more interesting than others, especially the American and British ones, which included:

Joseph Grich. American. Remanded to American Military Police.

Stephen Larrabee.  American. Deceased. 11/3/50.

Donald Haydon. British. Whereabouts unknown.

Dr. William Tuttle.  British. Incarcerated.  6/7/48.

John Snook. British. Deceased. 2/2/49.

Oberon Lewis. British. Whereabouts unknown.

Murray Lebhardt.  American.  Remanded to American Military Police.

Maurice Kirk. British.  Incarcerated 12/18/47.

Archibald Hatcher.  British. Whereabouts unknown.

            By then it was five o’clock, and David’s eyes were very tired. He stretched at his desk—no one else had disturbed him all day—and left all the files scattered, as told. He then left the room, asked where Ms. Hurley was, and met her in her office a few doors down.
            “Have a profitable day, I hope, Mr. Greco?” she asked.
           “Maybe a little headway.”
            “Will you be needing anything else today? We’re open for another ninety minutes or so.”
            “No, not today, but I’m wondering if I may ask if, in addition to the files I used to take down these lists of names”—he showed them to her—“would there be any records of more specific charges against some of them?”
            “There may well be, and I can keep hauling out more files for you tomorrow, if you like. But I think you have to go to the court records for that sort of thing.”
            “Even if they’re military records?”
            “I don’t really know,” she said, “but I can make inquiries and probably have an answer for you in a day or two.” She scribbled down her direct phone line at the office.  “Call me.”
            “That’d be wonderful,” said David. “You’ve been a real help.”
            “So you will or will not be back tomorrow?”
            “I think I’ll wait to hear from you about those court records, but thanks a lot for all your help today.”
            Jenny Hurley watched David leaving, thinking it was odd that he’d ripped through so much material in one day, when most of the people who came to do research spent days, weeks, even months poring over endless mountains of documents to find, or never find, what they were looking for. She’d pegged David as not being a scholar, certainly not a graduate student at his age, but he’d come well recommended by Professor Mundt.  She put all the files back in their proper places and locked up the reading room early, knowing no one else was coming in that day.

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

John Mariani, 2016




                                             A WIDE RANGE OF PASSOVER
                                        WINES NOW AVAILABLE 

                                                                               By Geoff Kalish


       In advance of the Jewish holiday of Passover (this year the evening of April 5 to the evening of  April 13) many shops are stocking up on “kosher for Passover” wines. And because of the wide range of dry and off-dry bottles now available, observant Jews will have an excellent opportunity this year to serve wines with the traditional holiday meal (seder) other than thick, sweet reds—  which are not a part of Jewish dietary law, but more an American innovation popularized shortly after Prohibition, when domestic taste favored sugary dessert-style reds.
        For those wondering what makes a wine “kosher” and “kosher for Passover,” the answer is  that according to Jewish ritual law a wine labeled Kosher must meet certain minimal standards, including: production by sabbath-observant Jews; “fining” (clarification) only with mineral compounds (not egg whites or gelatin as usually used, because of the possibility that it was derived from a non-kosher animal); supervision of the entire process by a rabbi; and certification by a recognized group. In addition, to be “Mevusal”—allowed to be handled and/or served by non-observant Jews—the wine must be heated to boiling to “sterilize it.” Moreover, to be kosher for Passover, the grapes must be from a vineyard in which no other crop is grown (because of the possible contamination from fermentable grains, like wheat, oats, etc.), and sterilization of the equipment used to make the wine must be conducted before production to be sure again it is not contaminated with “fermentable grains.”



While reds are more traditional for Passover, these whites feature flavor and the gusto to match typical appetizers, like deviled eggs, gefilte fish (a poached mixture of deboned fish), and even chopped liver, as well as main course items like roasted chicken and poached or broiled salmon.


Made from grapes grown in Israel’s Golan Heights, the 2021 Yarden Chardonnay ($24) shows a classic Chablis-like bouquet and taste of ripe apples and pears, with notes of pineapple in its crisp finish. Composed of premium grapes from California’s Russian River Valley, the 2019 Weinstock Cellars Select Chardonnay ($24) has a toasty bouquet and taste with undertones of lemon and vanilla, perfect to pair with gefilte fish and game birds.


Sauvignon Blanc

The 2020 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc ($24) from New Zealand shows a fragrant bouquet and crisp taste of kiwi and grapefruit, with a zesty finish. And the 2021 Terra Vega Sauvignon Blanc (a bargain at $12) from Chile’s Central Valley has a bouquet and taste of melons and ripe pears, with notes of citrus and grapefruit in its crisp finish. It would a good match with gefilte fish.


Riesling and Viognier

The slightly sweet 2021 Pacifica Riesling ($22) from Washington State shows flavors of ripe melons and green apple, with notes of lime in its vibrant finish. And the 2020 Pacifica Viognier ($21) has a fragrant bouquet of honeysuckle and peaches, with a smooth taste of apricots and some pineapple in its finish. Both wines make excellent accompaniment to appetizers, especially deviled eggs and chopped liver (left).





The 2019 Château Camplay Bordeaux Supérieur ($20) was produced from a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from France’s Bordeaux region. Following fermentation, the wine was aged in oak for 8 months. It  has a distinctive bouquet and taste of ripe plums and cassis, with hints of herbs in its slightly tannic finish.

The 2021 Château Genlaire Bordeaux Supérieur  ($16), with a bouquet and taste of ripe plums and spice with hints of oak in its finish, features a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc from the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. Of note, these two wines mate especially well with lamb (right), a popular main course served during Passov


Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2021 Barkan Classic Cabernet Sauvignon ($12) was made from grapes grown in Israel’s Galilee and Golan Heights areas and shows a bouquet and taste of black currants and ripe plums with notes of oak. And the 2021 Binyama Yogev Cabernet Sauvignon ($20), also made of grapes from Israel’s Galilee and Golan Heights areas, is actually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grapes. It has a fruity bouquet and taste of ripe plums, blackberries and some cherry, with a smooth finish. Both wines mate well with main course items like short ribs of beef and leg of lamb.


Pinot Noir

Grapes for the 2020 Borgo Reale Pinot Noir ($18) came from the rich Apulian soil in the heel area of Italy. It has a bouquet and taste of plums and strawberries, with hints of cranberry in its finish. The 2019 Pacifica Pinot Noir ($25), made with premium grapes from Evan’s Vineyard in Oregon, shows a bouquet and flavor of ripe cherries and spice, with an earthy finish. Both wines mate particularly well with braised brisket of beef.


 Merlot and Malbec

The 2018 Hai Noah Merlot ($22) is a rich, full-bodied wine with a bouquet and flavor of raspberries and cherries, made from grapes grown in Jerusalem’s  Judean Hills. The 2021 Terra Vega Malbec ($12), made of a blend of mainly Malbec, with small amounts of Alicante Bouschet and Merlot grapes, all  grown in Chile’s Central Valley, shows a bouquet and taste of blackberries and cherries, with hints of chocolate in its lush finish. Both wines make excellent accompaniment for robust main courses like braised brisket and leg of lamb as well as short ribs of beef.  


Chianti and Rioja

Hailing from the Castelenuovo Beradenga area of Tuscany, 20 miles southeast of Florence, the 2020 Terra Di Seta Chianti Classico  ($25) was fashioned from organically grown grapes (95% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon). Following fermentation, the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 12 months and shows a bouquet and taste of cherries and raspberries, with hints of licorice in its finish. And produced from 100% Tempranillo grapes grown in vineyards surrounding the town of Haro in north-central Spain, the 2019 Ramon Cardova Rioja ($17) shows a bouquet and taste of ripe wild berries and a touch of balsamic in its robust finish. These two wines pair harmoniously with pot roasts, braised beef and potato kugel (left).





In  New York City a dominatrix named Olga Nasyrova (left), has been convicted of attempted murder in trying to kill 35-year-old Olga Tsvyk with cheesecake laced with a powerful sedative, then stealing her passport and other valuables.  The prosecution also called as a witness Ruben Borukhov, who testified that Nasryova drugged him during a date, and he passed out after eating  drug-laden fish Nasyrova prepared for him. When his wits returned, Borukhov found his new watch missing and his American Express bill loaded with about $2,600 in unfamiliar charges.




 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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© copyright John Mariani 2023