Virtual Gourmet

  June 4,  2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 






By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani



By John Mariani

         Plenty of American cities have iconic food and drinks that originated in kitchens, restaurants and bars: New York has the Manhattan, the NY strip, the egg cream and the Bloody Mary; New Orleans the muffuletta, oysters Rockefeller and the Sazerac; San Francisco has crab Louis, Irish coffee and cioppino. Yet, Louisville can hold its own for a remarkable number of food and drink items that grew from the soil, the dairies and the distilleries in the city and state. Here are some of the best known.


Bourbon, of course, is inseparable from Kentucky, and in recent years the number of distilleries has boomed, not least up and down Louisville’s Main Street, where Michter’s Fort Nelson, Rabbit Hole, Angel’s Envy, Old Forester, Barrels & Billets, Copper & Kings and Evan Williams Bourbon are all open for tours, tastings and purchase.


The Mint Julep is a cocktail made from bourbon, sugar, and mint. It is a classic drink of Kentucky and is traditionally served at the running of the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May. It dates back to  before 1800. The origin of the word “julep” is the Persian gulāb “rosewater,” which is not an ingredient in the Kentucky cocktail but indicates a very sweet concoction known since the fifteenth century. Frances Parkinson Keyes once observed that “I have heard it said that the last instructions which a Virginia gentleman murmurs on his deathbed are, ‘Never insult a decent woman, never bring a horse in the house, and never crush the mint in a julep!”’



Bourbon balls are made from chocolate laced with bourbon, which can be bought at Muth’s Candies.


Modjeskas are a caramel candy named after famed Polish actress Madame Helena Modjeska, who appeared at the McCauley Theater in Louisville in 1883 for the U.S. debut of Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House.” One audience member, Anton Busath, owner of Busath Candies, was honored by an introduction to the beautiful actress and asked permission to name his confection after her. Busath Candies closed in 1947, but under the name “Caramel Biscuit” it can still be mail ordered from Bauer’s Candies in Lawrenceburg, KY.


A bourbon milkshake is exactly what it sounds like, a dessert/cocktail made from bourbon, caramel cream liqueur, vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream. They come in several flavors and can be found Royal’s Hot Chicken and Sidebar on Whiskey Row.


Beer cheese is a spread of sharp cheddar, beer and hot sauce, onion powder, garlic, dry mustard and cayenne pepper, introduced in the 1940s by John and Joe Allman in Winchester, KY, at their restaurant Johnny Allman’s. They created it as a salty-spicy cheese to spread on crackers or celery. There’s even a Beer Cheese Festival held annually in Winchester.


Pimento cheese dates to the 1890s, when cream cheese came on the market, to which was added pimento peppers and, usually,  mayonnaise, while Benedictine was created by Jennie Benedict at the turn of the century in her family kitchen. It became a must at any party, often as a sandwich spread made from cream cheese, cucumber juice, onion juice, cayenne and the all-important green food coloring, which has made it a St. Patrick’s Day tradition.


Country ham and biscuits are, of course, popular throughout the South, but on Derby Day, you won’t find any household or pre-Derby party without finding puffy split buttermilk biscuits with a thin slice of rosy, salty, thinly sliced country ham on the table.


Kizito cookies were created by the “Cookie Lady,” Elizabeth Kitzio (right), who owned Kitzio Cookie Shop in Louisville’s Highland neighborhood as of 1989. Elizabeth emigrated from Uganda to attend college, but, after a divorce, waited tables and started selling her chocolate chip cookies around town. Today she turns out 3,000 per day, sold at her store and at Walgreens, Paul’s Fruit Market in Louisville and at Louisville Bats games.


Burgoo is a Kentucky stew made from various meats, and used to be made with wild squirrel. It’s usually cooked up in large batches for a party, and in 1895 Gus Jaubert cooked up a batch for the Grand Army of the Republic that came to six thousand gallons; the so-called Kentucky burgoo king, James T. Looney, was used to serving crowds of people numbering up to ten thousand. The word was known to British sailors at least as early as 1700 as a kind of oatmeal porridge, perhaps from the Turkish wheat pilaf called burgbul.  There is a highly suspect story about a Civil War soldier with a speech impediment who cooked up some blackbirds in a five-hundred-gallon copper kettle used for making gunpowder. When he called his fellow soldiers to dinner, the word came out, not “bird stew,” but “burgoo.”  A recipe for a mere five thousand people was printed in the Louisville Courier-Journal not long ago that called for 800 lb. beef, 200 lb. fowl, 168 gal. tomatoes, 350 lb. cabbage, 6 bu. onions, 85 gal. tomato puree, 24 gal. carrots, 36 gal. corn, 1,800 lb. potatoes, 2 lb. red pepper, 1/2 lb. black pepper, 20 lb. salt, 8 oz. angostura bitters, 1 pint Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 lb. curry powder, 3 qt. tomato ketchup, and 2 qt. sherry.


The hot  brown is signature dish created at Louisville’s Brown Hotel in downtown. In the 920's, the hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance; afterwards the guests went to the restaurant for a bite, and chef Fred Schmidt came up with an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce.


Old Fashioned is a cocktail made with whiskey (bourbon or rye),  sugar, and bitters, served in a squat Old Fashioned glass. The Chicago Tribune in 1893 wrote, “The old-fashioned cocktail affected by  Southern men differs in its composition in various cities.”  It was created around 1881, the year in which Louisville’s aristocratic Pendennis Club first opened its doors to members, one of whom was the then-reigning patriarch of fine Kentucky Bourbon, Colonel James E. Pepper. The Colonel’s grandfather, Elijah, had claimed twin birthdays for his distillery and the nation, and for generations his “Old 1776” brand of Bourbon would continue to be flogged under the proud slogan, “Born with the Republic.” (Most aficionados of the old-fashioned insist a sugar cube be placed at the bottom of the glass, which holds about six ounces, but others prefer to use sugar syrup.)


Derby pie is a Trademark name of the Kerns Bakery in Louisville, for a very thick, rich chocolate-chip pecan pie. Its name derives from the tradition of serving it on Kentucky Derby Day, the first Saturday in May.





378 Greenwich Street

By John Mariani


Pollo Asado

         The temporary pleasures of each season in New York work in tandem with the drudgeries. Glorious spring requires daunting rainstorms; warming summer means exhausting heat waves; golden autumn loses the sunlight; and glistening winter turns to slush. All are part of the experience of dining out in New York, but when the skies are clear, the temperature just right and the din of the city subsides, there are few lovelier places to be while enjoying a fine meal.
         On just such an evening was I seated outside with friends at the new Caliza on cobblestoned Greenwich Street in TriBeCa, a neighborhood of low density and fine views east and west. Inside, at 7:30, the dining room proved a bit too loud, and rush hour was over, so the only sounds we heard al fresco were of people strolling by or having a good meal of modern Mexican cuisine.
         The interior is airy, bright and done in a variety of oak and pine, with sand colored floor tiles and ceiling lamps in straw baskets. Along with a striking folkloric mural by Claudio Limon. (Caliza “Next Door” is a take-out shop.)
      Chef Daniel Mendoza (right), from Mexico City and self-taught, is the Culinary Director at Caliza, and he has wide experience learning international cuisines including Korean, Thai, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian and Peruvian foods, with stints at Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park, the Nomad Hotel and Aska, which are the kinds of highly progressive restaurants that imbue his work at Caliza.
         So there is guacamole and tacos and quesadillas on the menu, but none that you are likely to have tasted before. There is also, as you can imagine, a broad selection of cocktails that includes Sangre De Jamaica Tequila (Emperical Ayuuk, hibiscus tea, lime) and Morelos (Reposado Tequila, mezcal, Palo Santo, Smoke Oaks) I would recommend trying.
        That guacamole ($17) is a flourish of colors, with pepita salsa macha, serrano, cilantro and blue corn tostadas (below), and, since raw fish is now requisite as a ceviche in Mexican restaurants, the aguachile negro of striped bass, black sesame, leche de tigre, habanero and cucumber ($21) had just the right  balance of tangy citrus and aromatic spices. So, too, a generous portion of scallop ceviche ($22) teems with guanabana leche de tigre, habanero, daikon, elderberries and herbed oil drizzle.
        I chose the carnitas tacos of juicy pork confit with young coconut, avocado, radish, pepita and salsa macha ($14), which showed the kitchen’s care in making sure all textures are distinct and add to the whole dish. Tlayuda de hongos ($18) was topped with huitlacoche, wild mushrooms, sweet baby corn, a dash of hot horseradish crema and queso fresco white cheese to cool things down. Camarones ($16 ) are marinated shrimp with black beans, queso chihuahua, hoja santa and pico de gallo. Chicken tacos ($16) get a treatment of guajillo chili and cucumber. Flavors repeat, but in varying degrees, so that you don’t get dishes like various enchiladas whose only difference is the protein. 
        Larger plates, all with warm crisp tortillas, include branzino La Talla ($45) with chile cascabal, adobo, garlic aïoli and crisp watercress. Pollo asado ($32), a classic that is often a rather bland dish, is given complexity from a charred tomatillo salsa, pearl onions, rainbow radish and cilantro.
        For dessert ($12) you must have the churros—or, at least, I must always have the churros if they’re on the menu—piping hot cylindrical fritters with dark Mexican chocolate.
        As the sun set softly over the Hudson River and the city’s lights came on, there we were, satisfied in so many ways that went well beyond the food and the wine.


Open for dinner nightly; for lunch Sat. & Sun.


By  John Mariani


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




      Katie and David could see that Philby was getting all of this out before coming closer to Graham Greene. It was the way he had always charmed people, with remarkable stories in which he was at the center. Katie brought the author’s name up again.
         “So, you’re saying that Greene had his own flirtation with Marxism?” she asked.
         “Of course,” said Philby, stifling a cough to no avail. “But he shed that,  and for reasons I never understood embraced Catholicism, which is, of course, a form of Communism—sell all you have and give to the poor, camel going through the eye of a needle, that sort of thing. I think Graham was tortured more by his Catholic sense of guilt than anything else in his life.”
         David tried to move the story forward, asking, “You were never in Vienna with Greene, then?”
         “No, no, no,” said Philby, lighting another cigarette. “Mainly, I knew Graham while we worked on Ryder Street in London doing shit work for MI6. We were never stationed together. My own knowledge of Vienna was back in the Thirties. I fell in love with an Austrian girl named Litzi (left and below) who was very committed to something called the Organization for Aid for Revolutionaries, which I helped her with. Very idealistic girl, bit of Jewish-Hungarian blood in her. I married her to get her out of Vienna and to London one step ahead of the Nazis. We were later divorced.”
      Katie remembered reading that some reports about Philby suggested it was Litzi who drafted Philby into Russian espionage, so she asked him about that possibility.
         Philby laughed, “God, no! I was in love with Litzi and shared something of her idealism, but I can assure you, Russian espionage was not much on my mind as we shivered beneath a cloth blanket in old Vienna.”
         “So, you and Greene were never in Vienna together,” David reiterated. “No connection whatsoever there?”
         “Nothing direct,” said the old spy. “I did put him in contact with a few people I knew there before the war. I hadn’t a clue if any of them were still alive. I also suggested he get in contact with a journalist named Smolka, who knew the city inside and out.”
         Katie and David could tell that Philby was distancing himself from Vienna as much as possible.
         “So, when Greene was researching The Third Man in Vienna in the winter of 1947,” she said, looking down at her notes, “you were in Istanbul, correct?”
         More coughing, then, “Yes, I’d been appointed the head of British intelligence there, though I was called First Secretary of the British Consulate.  Perfect cover for me to run British assassins into Russia, then inform the Russians where to find and arrest them.”
         Katie and David glanced at one another, realizing that in Philby’s disarming way he was nonchalantly admitting to sending British agents to their deaths. David made the slightest movement of his chin to indicate to Katie she should not challenge Philby on the morality of his deeds. David thought it was time to bring things to a head.
         “So, Mr. Philby, let me flat out ask you, you’re saying that in no way you were the inspiration for Greene’s character of Harry Lime.”
         Philby shook his head from side to side and grinned.  “Absolutely not.  It’s been a farce I’ve had to endure for decades. Say what you want about me, but I had no part in selling bad penicillin to anyone in Vienna or anywhere else. Hard as it may be for you Americans to believe, but even spies have scruples. Graham used to say,
‘The world is not black and white. More like black and grey.’
         “Well,” said Katie, “if you weren’t Lime, and if you were never in Vienna after the war, are you also saying that you weren’t guilty of anything  to do with the black market anywhere after the war that Greene might have used to create Lime?”
         “My dear Miss Cavuto, I was still in MI6 until the day I bolted away to Moscow in 1963. I’m not saying it would be impossible for an MI6 man to be involved in the black market—I knew some who were—but in my position I could hardly risk casting any more suspicion upon me than there was after Maclean and Burgess escaped. I was much more like John le Carré’s ‘Honourable Schoolboy.’ Plus Harry was an out-and-out capitalist—except for paying taxes—regarding people as … what did he call them? … Ants?”
         “What about Maurice Castle in Greene’s The Human Factor?” she asked, referring to a book Greene had written about a retired MI6 bureaucrat who is drawn into helping Russian agents in South Africa because one of them had aided his wife in escaping the country.
      Philby nodded and said, “Well, you really have done your homework, haven’t you? Yes, I suppose my helping Litzi get out of Vienna had something to do with the character of Castle. Interesting choice of name: a chess piece that can only move in two directions. You know, Graham wrote that book back in the 1960s, but didn’t dare publish it till seventeen years later because everyone would think I was Castle and that Greene might have info MI6 would be interested in inquiring about. He even put the pub he and I used to drink at near our London office—the King's Arms—into the first sentence of the book. The ‛human factor’ was Graham’s own code words for loyalty to a friend.

         Philby turned his eyes to the window and said. “So long ago it all seems. So long ago.”
         Katie found herself feeling sorry for the Philbys, recalling from her notes a line Green had written: “This was hell then; it wasn't anything to worry about: it was just his own familiar room.”
         But David thought such wistfulness coming from Kim Philby was a complete sham. The more Philby spoke, the more David disliked him.  Katie, as a journalist, had to keep a more objective opinion, at least for the moment, seeing that the interview was coming to an end. In fact, she even asked the old spy, “Mr. Philby, I said we’d report what you tell us as faithfully as we can, but as an interviewer I have to reserve some skepticism.”
      Philby smiled and said, “Indeed, you should. You know, torturing the truth our of someone rarely reveals much about the real truth in the spy world.”
      “Mr. Philby,” snapped David, “Are you still in the spy world?”
         The old man laughed and coughed for a long spell. His wife patted him on the back, then he said, in a very raspy voice, “I gave up that fantasy the day I died. Now my life is pretty close to being over, so I have nothing left to hide. By the time your article or book or whatever you’re writing is published I won’t be here to read it, so write whatever the hell you damn well please. It would give me a certain pleasure for the world to know that even my death was faked.”
         “Like Harry Lime’s?” said David.
         Philby nodded, “In a way, I suppose so. Anyway, it’s a good story, isn’t it?
         “One last thing,” said David. He opened the folder he’d brought with the lists of names from the American and British black market files.  “Can I ask you to look at these lists and tell me if anyone on them rings a bell as a possible suspect to be Harry Lime?”
         Philby adjusted his glasses, looked at the American then the British files then back to the American then again to the British.
         “Well, I’m glad to see I’m not on either list,” he said. “And you say these were all black marketeers in Vienna after the war?  Hmm,  a few names are familiar to me but they all seem to be dead or in prison.”
         The old spy squinted, looked again at each list and held them up before him. “Ah,” he said, “here’s someone of interest.”
         David looked at Katie, not expecting much.
         “Harold Neame,” said Philby. “We knew him as Harry. Pretty damn close to Harry Lime, isn’t it?”
         Katie arched an eyebrow and said, “Not much of a coincidence.”
         “Oh, I think it’s more than that. You see, Graham and I both knew Neame when we were all in MI6 in London. He was the youngest of the group. Very ambitious, hated the work he did at the office. Had delusions of grandeur, not to be the world’s greatest spy but to use whatever expertise he’d learn on the job to make international connections.”
         Philby recalled that Neame had gone to Oxford, not Cambridge, to study international finance, so MI6 appointed him to disentangle the whereabouts of Nazi and Soviet money in Switzerland and anywhere else it was kept in secret. Though good at it, Neame wanted to go to Germany and Russia and Switzerland and the Caribbean, believing that after the war ended he might make his fortune on the basis of so many contacts acquired on both the Allied and Axis side.
         “Neame was never a cloak-and-dagger spy, or even a secret agent of any usefulness,” said Philby. “He was the finance expert and that was it, but by the time the war ended he had spent time in Geneva and the Caribbean, and as of 1945 was posted to Vienna, where he left the employ of MI6 as soon as he arrived.”
         “And what did he do then?” asked Katie.
         Philby stubbed out his spent cigarette and began to nod.
         “Ah, Harry was resourceful,” said Philby, “and totally amoral. He had not the slightest interest in politics, communism, capitalism or who controlled what in Vienna. His contacts enabled him to work with them all. At first he believed food was his future—Europeans were starving everywhere at the time and still were by the time Graham got around to researching The Third Man. I lost track of Harry personally for a while until he showed up in Istanbul one day and looked me up.”
         Philby went on to explain that Neame had become rather wealthy, not selling food but pharmaceuticals. “I think he was feeling me out as a prospect for a partner in his venture, should I decide to leave MI6.”
         “He didn’t know you were a double agent?” asked David.
         “I don’t really know. It’s not as if he went wink-wink, but of course he had been working closely with the Soviets in Vienna. Maybe he did, but it didn’t go anywhere.”
         “Did he ask about Graham Greene?”
         “Ah, it was so long ago, but yes, I think he did. Asked if I ever saw Graham, or been in contact. Come to think of it, he told me he had himself seen Greene in Vienna while he was researching the movie.”
         “And you say he was building a pharmaceutical company in Vienna at that time?” asked David.
         Philby made a fake frown and said, “Detective Greco, you disappoint me. The fact that Neame is on both your lists is because he was already deeply into the black market in Vienna and, apparently, dealing in drugs.  And managed to escape before the Americans or Brits got to him.”
         David’s jaw dropped and he smacked his forehead. He’d been listening so closely to Philby’ story that he hadn’t followed the thread dangling right in from of him. He tried quickly to recover from his failure to make the connections by saying, “Do you think this Harry Neame is still alive?”
         “Well, he’s not quite as old as I am,” said Philby. “I never heard of him defecting to the Russians—he probably paid them off at the time—but wherever he is I’m sure he has changed his name and does not live in the U.S. or the U.K.”
         “So, you don’t think there’s any way to find him?” asked Katie.
         “Now, Miss Cavuto, you disappoint me,” said Philby. “There is always a way to find someone if you have the time and money.”
         Katie’s mind was racing.Was Kim Philby suggesting that he might be able to find information on Harold Neame for a certain fee? As a journalist she was strictly forbidden from paying for information beyond taking a source to an expensive dinner. On the other hand, in his days as a detective David was always throwing money at sources, sometimes large sums okayed by the D.A.’s office. But he knew that even if he suggested McClure’s could funnel money through him, not Katie, she would not allow it. Then again, maybe Philby was not making such an offer.
         Katie said, very seriously, “Do you mean, Mr. Philby, that if I put some resources at your disposal, you might help get that information?”
      Philby drew himself up in his chair. “My dear young lady—”
         “Kim, pozhaluysta!” said his wife, offended her husband had addressed Katie that way.
         “I apologize, Miss Cavuto,” said Philby. “As I started to say, given my condition, I have no use for, as you call them, resources, and, as much as they might help my dear wife Rufina, because of the way my Russian friends handle my affairs, there is no possibility that there is any way she could receive funds of any kind. You forget, Miss Cavuto, I am dead.  I don’t exist as far as my comrades are concerned.  Even if you tell the world you met me, the Russians will deny it and the story will wither in a day or two.  I am old news.
         “But,” he continued, “if you wish to donate money to a good cause . . .”
         “You mean your favorite charity?”
         “Ha, I am not a very charitable man, Miss Cavuto. I’m happy to leave it up to you, if you have one. Something worldwide, not localized. Red Cross, Catholic Charities, War Veterans, I don’t care.”
         “And if I do—or my magazine is willing to do so—you think you could locate this man Harold Neame.”
         “I still have some old timers here in Moscow who talk to me. They might know. In any case, I’ll make a few calls. All my calls are monitored, by the way, but I doubt the present government has any interest in a post-war black marketer like Neame.  Must be well into his seventies by now.  Very possibly dead.”
         Philby rose from his chair with help from his wife, coughed for a few moments, then said, “Well, I’m afraid that’s all I’m good for today. I don’t know if I’ve been of any help, but I can assure you, I am definitely not Harry Lime. By the way, is Orson Welles still alive?”
         “No, I’m afraid he died about fifteen years ago,” said David.
         “Marvelous actor. Fabulous voice. I doubt anyone would even remember Harry Lime had it not been for Welles and that voice.”
         Philby stretched a little and said, “Well, then, thank you for coming. My wife will show you out.”
      He turned and shuffled off to the other room from which the sound of his cough now rang like a death knell.

John Mariani, 2016



While promoting his new book, Tom Hanks  revealed his favorite cocktail that he proudly invented. “I’m not a big drinker,” he said. “But of late I will have a Diet Coke with a shot of champagne. We call it a Diet Cokaigne around the house.”




 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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