Virtual Gourmet

June 16, 2024                                                                                                NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


Van Johnson, Gene Kelly and  Elaine Stewart  in "Brigadoon" (1954)




By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


         Then he was pulling open the door of Harry’s bar and was inside and he had made it again, and was at home.”
         So begins a chapter in Ernest Hemingway’s 1950 novel Across the River and Into the Trees. He even went on to put the bar’s proprietor, Giuseppe Cipriani (below, center), into the novel as Giuseppe Cipriani—the only time a living person appeared in any of Hemingway’s fiction. Now this former bartender from Verona is part of literary history and Harry’s is perhaps the most famous bar in the world, as well as one of the best—and most expensive—restaurants in Venice.
         It was at Harry’s that the bellini was born—a cocktail of prosecco and white peach juice, named after the Venetian artist, just as the sliced raw beef with mayonnaise invented at Harry’s was named after Carpaccio.  Before the war Harry’s regular patrons included Somerset Maugham, Noël Coward, Charlie Chaplin, Arturo Toscanini, and Sinclair Lewis. On a single day in 1934 the guests included the crown heads of Spain, Denmark, Norway, and Greece, none knowing the others were in town.
      Like so many things that happen in saloons, Harry’s Bar was a buy back. During Prohibition in the U.S., Venice’s hotel lounges were all posh, not true “American bars.” It was into such a hotel bar in Venice, the Europa-Britannia Hotel, that a wealthy young Bostonian tippler named Harry Pickering came with frequency in 1929. His original intention was to travel with his aunt and her gigolo and to dry out in Italy, but Pickering insulted them so that they left him behind, lira-less in Venice.
     Turning to Giuseppe Cipriani, the hotel’s bartender, Pickering asked to borrow just enough money to pay his hotel bill and go home. For some reason Cipriani took pity on the young American and gave him the money, assuming he would never see it, or Pickering, again. Two years passed, without a word, but true to his promise, Pickering eventually did return to Venice and handed Cipriani 10,000 lire plus an additional 40,000, with which the two of them could open a small American-style saloon to be called Harry’s Bar. 
It debuted on May 13, 1931, and years later Cipriani would joke, “If all those who said they were at Harry’s for the opening had really been there, this place would have to be the size of the Piazza San Marco.”
         The menu grew a little year by year, at first some ham and cheese sandwiches, even hamburgers, then some pastas and Venetian dishes like risotto con seppie.
         Pickering himself lost all interest in the venture and returned home, leaving the bar to Cipriani. When the war came to Venice, Cipriani’s clientele were prevented from going to their favorite watering hole. Then, one day in 1943 a group of Fascists entered the bar and told Cipriani he had to put up a sign reading, “We do not want  Jews in this establishment.”  When the thugs returned a few days later demanding to see the sign, Cipriani led him to the kitchen, where it was displayed on the kitchen door, causing the infuriated Fascists to tear the place up with their bayonets.
       Rather than accede to coercion, Cipriani closed the doors, sailed the Grand Canal and went hunting on the isle of Torcello until the war ended. Harry’s Bar was turned into a German soldiers’ mess hall.

After the war—Hemingway started coming in 1949 and hunted  waterfowl with Cipriani (left) on the island of Torcello—the little tables at Harry’s were day and night filled with international jet setters and show business stars, not least Orson Welles, whose bellowing voice could be heard coming all the way down the Calle Vallarosso. Georges Braque, Henry Fonda, Aristotle Onassis, Truman Capote, Rita Hayworth, Peggy Guggenheim, Woody Allen—all were patrons. Although unlike any other bar-restaurant in Italy but never a true club, it still seems that everybody knows everybody else at Harry’s.
      Now in its tenth decade, run by Cipriani’s son Arrigo (below) after Giuseppe died in 1980, Harry’s Bar was declared a National Landmark in 2001, so, even if the Ciprianis wanted to move, they are prohibited from doing so. They are not even allowed to change the furniture or décor.
      I met Arrigo that first time I ate at Harry’s and found him the consummate Venetian gentleman, hospitable to all, friendly but never intimate with some, always aware that he embodies the true spirit of the place, always seeming to be the same while quietly refining his ministry to a world uncomfortable with change.
     When I asked him why he continues to use such small, trattoria-size wine glasses, Cipriani shrugged: “If I pour the wine into one of those big glasses, you are practically forced to take it in your hand and smell the wine. You don’t want to feel stupid in front of an important sommelier! If the wine is bad, it will be so even in a big glass. Breathing? Come on! You can open the bottle ten minutes before serving the wine.” So, too, while there are a hundred wines on Harry’s list, the expensive bottles are never promoted, and clients who could afford anything drink the carafe house wines
         Arrigo’s views on Harry’s food are much the same. “The menu is larger now,” he says, “but the food is traditional Italian, from the housewives, not from the great French chefs. We make our own bread, breadsticks, pasta, cakes and ice cream. All our cooks can  reproduce our taste, which by now belongs to the DNA of our customers.”
         It is certainly true that Harry’s food reads like simple—if very expensive!—home cooking, most of it drawn from Adriatic waters,  like the scampi and octopus salad, the cuttlefish with white polenta, and the grilled fish. But there are also wonderful meat dishes, many refined over decades, like the tripe alla veneziana with rice pilaf, the calf’s liver with onions, veal piccata with lemon sauce, and chicken curry, not to mention the irresistible cheese-and-ham grilled cheese sandwiches with a touch of dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce that have been on the menu almost since the beginning.
         And then there are the pastas—risotto with sausage and radicchio, pappardelle with saffron and bacon, and the extraordinary, luscious tagliolini gratinata, baked with cream and cheese beneath a golden brown crust.
          “The changes mainly concern the casual style of the fashion more than the people themselves,” says Cipriani,  “and it has been going on for a long time. But luxury is still the engine of everybody’s life. The question is, what exactly is luxury today? Is it based on décor or on people? On the form or on the substance?”
         After nearly a century in business, Harry’s Bar hardly seems a business. Instead, it works as a beacon along the Grand Canal, whose blue awnings you see from the vaporetto, whose glass-and-wood door is a refuge and, for many like Hemingway, has become a true home away from home.




East 72nd Street
Park Drive North

By John Mariani

Photo by Liz Clayman


         One might say that a great city is best judged by its parks, and New York, with 1,700 spread over five boroughs (the largest is in the Bronx) has a bounty only London, with 3,000, can match. And of all these, Central Park in Manhattan is a phenomenon. For within that grandeur there is the quiet of Central Park Lake with West Side skyscrapers towering above a gloriously maintained wooded area.
         Tavern on the Green still beckons on the far west
side of the park, but closer to Fifth Avenue is the newly re-opened Boathouse, which dates back to 1874, when Central Park’s designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, designed a two-story boathouse at the eastern end of the lake, where visitors could enjoy refreshments and take boat rides.
      The original structure burned down, then was rebuilt in 1954 by Carl and Adeline Loeb and renamed The Loeb Boathouse Central Park. It went through various management companies—like Tavern on the Green, the Boathouse is leased from the city, which owns the land—but Covid and a downturn in business closed it until its management was taken over by Legends (which also manages Yankee Stadium’s food and beverage), reopening this spring on the restaurant’s 70th anniversary.
         The Boathouse retains its red brick and limestone exterior with  gabbled copper roof, its French windows over the lake, all renovated by Studio Friends and Family with stately white pillars, orb chandeliers, mosaic floor tiles, white tablecloths, a bluebird-and-white color scheme, and abstract paintings of nature by artist Raven Roxanne.
         Executive Chef Adam Fiscus and Consulting Chef Dave Pasternack unabashedly call their menu continental, a term whose cachet was tarnished by an anything-for-anybody style back in the 1980s. But the term fits impeccably at The Boathouse, even for its redemption of the complimentary relish tray at the beginning of the meal, with which the Parker House rolls ($8) make an ideal match.                           

 Many of the dishes that seem dated have been brought back with admirable attention to detail, so that you quickly begin to realize how much you missed dishes you haven’t had for years, like stuffed mushrooms ($20) with crushed Ritz crackers, Gruyere and Sherry, and baked Oysters Rockefeller ($28) with absinthe, spinach and bechamel. The Manhattan Clam Chowder ($14) most certainly sparks a new appreciation of that involved dish of seafood, tomato and abundant spices. Of course, it comes with oyster crackers.
         Other appetizers include a spicy jumbo lump crab and avocado cocktail ($30), and for once the dish really does contain big, fat jumbo lumps, which take well to the creamy avocado and the sweet-sour grapefruit suprêmes.  So, too, a simple serving of shrimp cocktail ($28) proved the excellence of the raw product. I wouldn’t ordinarily order the ubiquitous buffalo mozzarella, but it had wonderful taste and perfect texture ($24), served with French beans, parsley and a shallot vinaigrette. Chicken liver paté ($18) was nice and creamy, with pickled shallots, watercress salad, and grilled toast.
         There are four pastas on the menu, and I sampled two: A nicely made linguine with clams in the shell and chili ($34) and a superlative spaghetti with lobster ($48) in a fra diavolo-style sauce of real substance, and there is a lot of lobster meat to be picked over.
         I wish I saw more trout on New York menus, for Fiscus shows just how marvelous a fish it can be—meaty, flavorful, and here
it’s a play on the classic dish that comes with almonds, since it’s with pistachios instead. The old continental-Italian favorite chicken milanese ($32) with cherry tomatoes, arugula and grana Padano was a pleasing rendition.  It was so good to see prime rib of beef ($64) on the menu, served with  fresh horseradish and Yorkshire pudding. The beef was a hefty slab with its cap on and served with a jus.
          You can’t have a restaurant of almost any stripe without serving New York cheesecake ($14) , and The Boathouse does a fine one, as it does a soft chocolate lava tart ($14). Tarte Tatin ($14) was sweet and tangy from good apples nicely caramelized and lavished with crème fraiche.
       The Boathouse’s  wine list, overseen by beverage director Jamie Boss, has plenty of decently priced bottlings and the bar has perfected the old classics—from Manhattan ($22) and Old Fashioned ($19) to Daiquiri ($19) and Lavender French 75 ($22). Wines by the glass are all of interest.
      As you ‘d expect, The Boathouse has ample room for catered affairs, as well as Dockside Dining and rowboat rentals. By the way, finding the Boathouse along the park’s circuitous pathways would be a lot easier if they had posted signs to point the way.
    The Boathouse is a unique venue in New York and would be a rarity anywhere. Peace and quiet, flora and fleeting clouds together with delicious food and wine show off the Big Apple at its most radiant.


Open daily for lunch and dinner; brunch on Sun. There is also a Café open daily.


By  John Mariani


      They rang the apartment bell, an elderly voice  answered and they were buzzed in. They walked up to the third floor to an apartment to the rear, its door already half open and a woman standing behind it.      
“Miss Cuddahy, I’m Investigator Finger and these are my two American friends, Katie Cavuto and David Greco.  Katie’s a fine journalist lookin’ into the Magdalene murders and David’s helpin’ her with the research.  I hope you don’t mind them comin’ along?”
         Alice Cuddahy was perhaps in her late seventies, her entire frame wizened, her face deeply wrinkled, her white hair spotty. She wore a faded housedress and worn slippers. The TV was tuned to a QVC channel.
         “I guess it’s all right,” she said in a rasping voice. “Come in and I’ll make us a pot o’ tea.”
         The one-room apartment was in tatters, the walls stained, the sofa bed covered with a dark blanket. It smelled of old age.
         The woman walked with a cane, shuffling to the kitchenette, telling them to find a place to sit, but David and Finger said they’d prefer to stand. Katie offered to help with the tea.
         “Well, you won’t mind if I rest these old bones?” the elderly woman said, slowly sitting down on a sofa. “You want to know about the Laundries, then?”
         David knew he should let Finger conduct the preliminary part of the interview.
         “I won’t keep you long, Miss Cuddahy,” said Finger, having checked if she’d ever been married. “Basically, I’d like to know if you knew any of the three sisters who’ve been murdered this week.”
         Alice Cuddahy swayed a little on her sofa and half-closed her eyes as if falling off to sleep, then said, “Aye, I knew them all. They’d been there before I got there in the seventies.”
         “And may I ask how you came to the Laundries?” Finger had also checked that the woman had never been accused of prostitution.
         “I was sent there by my parents when I was sixteen,” she said. “I had gotten pregnant by a boy—I don’t know what happened to him or if he ever knew—and at the time,  if you had money you sent a girl away to have the baby, put it up for adoption and the girl would come home. If you were poor, like the girls in the Laundries, you were sent to the Sisters of Charity to have your baby, but then were told you’d have to stay there to do penance.”
         “May I ask what happened to your baby?” asked Katie.
         “I was never told. I never saw the little thing. The child didn’t even have my name. They changed it, though all the girls went by numbers as well. I was Number 102.  I wanted to keep the child but there was no fightin’ the nuns about that once my parents agreed.”
         Katie asked if she could record the interview and Miss Cuddahy assented.
         “Can you tell me a little of what it was like inside the Laundries?”
         David glanced at Finger and saw he was not pleased with Katie’s interruptions. They were there to find out about the three nuns, not to go over Alice Cuddahy’s life story.
         “I never saw daylight for the first two years,” she said. “We worked inside, ate inside and slept inside. At nine o’clock we were locked in our cells. The windows were high up and I’d stand on a chair to try to see out and try to hear the sounds outside. The only time we were allowed out was in the summer when we’d take the sheets out to be bleached by the sun, and we’d walk up and down for a few minutes.”
         Finger resumed his line of questioning. “So, Miss Cuddahy, can you tell us anythin’ about these murdered nuns?”
         Alice Cuddahy leaned forward, as if she were about to topple over, but then leaned back and straightened her back.
         “They were monsters, Mr. Finger, utter monsters. Not all the nuns were so bad, although the good ones never said a word to curb the bad ones. They’d all dole out punishment, some rarely, others every day.         The slightest infringement of rules, even a mistake like wastin’ a cup of soap or burnin’ a sheet with an iron, was cause to punish us.  Some girls they singled out for punishment, the weak ones and the feeble minded.  One of the girls tried to commit suicide by settin’ herself on fire. But the poor girl lived, horribly disfigured. Later, she escaped for three months, but the police caught her and the child protection officials handed her back over to the nuns.
         “And those three nuns who were murdered, aye, they were among the worst of the bunch. Many others died, and, God forgive me, but I hope their souls are burnin’ in hell.”
         Finger had earlier felt he’d have to tread lightly but now he realized this poor woman was eager to tell things she had never told anyone before.
         “Can I ask about Sister Adrienne Shaw?” said Finger. “You might have heard she was . . . strangled with rosary."
         “Aye, she was a horrible woman! Always yellin’ at us, callin’ us by the most terrible names. We were all sluts and sinners and she said we’d never leave the Laundries. Even if we did get out, we could never find a man to love us or marry us. And I’ll tell you this: She had a string of rosary beads made out of olive pits she said came from the actual Garden of Gethsemane. They were big, so they had to be strung with strong links on the chain. And her favorite torment was to snap them at our faces, arms and legs. I tell you, they stung like hell and they left marks on some of the girls faces, bloody ones. One girl almost lost an eye from it.”
         The three investigators looked at each other, realizing the reason for the murder weapon used.
         “And what of Sister Siobhán Walsh?” asked Finger.
left hand.
         “You see those knuckles. Every one was broken when the good Sister Walsh cracked me as hard as she could. I was seventeen. They never healed properly, and I’ve had arthritis and rheumatism in them ever since.”
         “She did that with a ruler?” asked Katie.
    “No, ‘twas a pointer, the one she used for teachin’. I remember it snapped when she hit me. But she had others, and she used them because she said they gave her a better reach than a ruler. She’d laugh about it.” eachin’. I remember it snapped when she hit me. But she had others, and she used them because she said they gave her a better reach than a ruler. She’d laugh about it.”
         Katie was shaking her head. Finger pressed on.
         “And the last, Jeanne Carroll?”
        “Ah, we called her ‘the Slapper,’ because she wouldn’t need rosary beads or a pointer. She’d just use her hand at full force—back of her hand, palm of her hand, both. Girls were constantly black and blue and had bloody noses or mouths. Some lost teeth. She once dislocated a twelve year-old girl’s jaw, and she cracked the chin bone of another with her weddin’ band.”
         Finger looked to Katie in puzzlement.
        "Jesus Christ,” she said. Finger just shook his head.
         “So, it sounds like these three nuns had plenty of enemies,” he said.
    "Just about all of us. We hated them and we had to bear it all because otherwise we’d get bad reports and would never have a chance to escape the Laundries.”  
“So, can you think of any of the women you knew being angry enough to commit these murders?”
       Alice Cuddahy looked at him squarely and said, “No, I don’t, but if I did, do you think I’d tell you? They might have done an awful thing but those nuns deserved what they got for all the years they gave us so much pain and misery. Whoever did these crimes acted for us all. No Sister of Charity ever went to jail. Maybe the killer sent them directly to hell. We had hell on earth. If I had the strength I’d do the same thing.”
        Alice Cuddahy then began to weep.
        “Y’know, I wrote to my mother every week when I was in the Laundries. But I never got a reply.  And when I finally got out at the age of thirty, they told me she had died years earlier. My father wanted nothin’ to do with me.”

John Mariani, 2018



By John Mariani

Riesling Grapes at Dr. Konstantin Frank Vineyards



        For a grape that is planted in so many countries worldwide, few wine lovers rank Riesling as among their favorite varietals, instead naming whites like Chardonnay, even Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, ahead of it, appreciated for the very qualities that distinguished Riesling—its sweetness, richness and acid. Today the sale of sweet wines (usually for dessert), even French Sauternes, has decreased in favor of what many perceive as more sophisticated dry varietals.
         Those, like myself, who love Riesling claim the very expensive, caramel-sweet Germanic styles like Trockenbeerenauslese or American Late Harvest Rieslings are among the world’s greatest wines. The lighter, dry styles, called Trocken, introduced in the 1970s, have improved appreciation as a white wine to be enjoyed with seafood. In Italy, California, New York, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Texas, New Zealand, and Canada, there are some excellent dry examples.
        Riesling probably originated in Germany’s Rhine Valley, and, since Austria and Alsace were for so long German territory, it was natural for vignerons to plant the grape in their similar, dry, cool climates, where it is still the principal varietal grown. Some of the best known and best selling German Rieslings estates (called Weinguts) include Trimbach; Albert Mann; Sclumberger; Hugel: Marcel Deiss; Robert Weil;  Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler; Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich; and Boxler.
       I’ve enjoyed all of these, as well as American West Coast Rieslings—those from California’s Mendocino Valley and Monterey are the best, including Kendall-Jackson and Jekel, and Washington State’s Château Ste. Michelle and Bonny Doon.
        New to me is Appassionata GG 2018 ($50) from the esteemed German Mosel Valley winegrower Ernst Loosen. The “GG” is Dr. Loosen’s term Grosses Gewächs, signifying a dry-style wine made with grapes from vines planted back in 1976 in the Chehalem Mountains in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. “Passionate” means passion, and Loosen developed a powerful one when he saw Oregon’s future 30 years ago and opened a collaborative estate in 2005 with J. Christopher Wines.  The wine spent a long time on the lees and was fermented in German oak cask for 12 months before bottling at 13% alcohol. The age of the wine is all to its benefit, creating harmony and nuance, mild spice, good for lake fish, shrimp and cheeses.

         I am among many who believe New York State makes some of the finest Rieslings in the world.  Aldo Sohm, wine director at New York’s Le Bernardin restaurant and co-owner of Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, told me, “I do think it’s remarkable how the Finger Lakes wines of New York State have achieved such quality in so short a time, when Germany and Alsace have had hundreds of years’ experience with Riesling.”
      The prime examples come from New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes district, not least the pioneering wines of Dr. Konstantin Frank, an estate this year celebrating what would have been Frank’s 125th birthday on July Fourth. Frank brought Riesling to the region in the 1950s, at a time when the varietals were mostly native labrusca or hybrids, usually fairly sweet. Dr. Konstantin Frank 2023 Dry Riesling ($18.99) is made from the original vines still in production today, and current vintages are better than ever; certainly an option when you are tired of Sauvignon. In all those years this has been his signature Riesling, the very essence of the Finger Lakes style in its fine balance of fruit and citrus and ginger.  I drank this the other night with pasta with wild mushrooms, and it was a glorious match.
I also recommend other Finger Lakes examples like Ravines Dry Riesling 2020 ($18) made by Morten and Lisa Hallgren (below). Morten, from Denmark, worked on his family’s French wine estate and later with Dr. Konstantin Frank. The winery is on Keuka Lake, with a 59-acre White Springs Vineyard with soil of loam over limestone. They are proud of the dryness of this Riesling, whose fermentation and aging occurs in stainless steel tanks, using only ambient yeasts. An excellent choice with trout or salmon.

Fox Run Vineyards 2022
($18) has a lovely lemongrass component, using five different yeast strains. It was a small but intense vintage with the sugars built up during a hot summer, so ripening provided the fruitiness while the acids took time to counter them with refreshing mineral flavors. Winemaker Craig Hobadh was able to achieve a tonality very much in the Finger Lakes style. Good to drink as an apéritif or with vegetable dishes, even asparagus.
        From Long Island’s North Fork I’m impressed by Paumonok, Martha Clara Vineyards Riesling and Wolffer vineyards. Paumonok, located on the north shore of Long Island, sells its wines on-line, and the Semi-Dry Riesling 2022 ($24) is a perennial favorite. It has sweet fruit flavors but enough acidity to make it ideal with spicy Asian foods with the same components, like Peking duck, General Tsao’s chicken and barbecue with a glaze. It’s 9.5% alcohol.
Messina Hof is an award-winning Texas winery that produces a wide variety of wines. Paul Vincent and Merrill Bonarrigo founded the estate in 1977, using Texas grapes when other state wineries shipped them in from other regions. The current production is over 200,000 gallons and can be bought in Japan. Their Off-Dry Riesling 2023 ($25), with its labels annually created by Texas artists, is made in the Texas High Plains. It is indeed semi-dry (rather than semi-sweet), but the hint of sweetness makes it good choice to enjoy with desserts like apple pie or mild cheeses like Gouda.




Texas couple Willie Nelson and Annie Nelson are writing a cookbook about cooking with cannabis entitled, Willie and Annie Nelson’s Cannabis Cookbook: Mouthwatering Recipes and the High-Flying Stories Behind Them.
It will share dishes the couple has made or had in cities while on the road including recipes using cannabis as an ingredient, like Buffalo chicken wings, chocolate cake, and fried chicken.


 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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