Cook Book Nook: Northern Italian Cooking By Francesco Ghedini (1973)

I just realized that I’ve been talking about Francesco Ghedini’s Northern Italian Cooking like it’s Julia Child’s The French Chef (full disclosure, I had to look up Julia Child’s most famous cook book). I should probably explain. A week or so back I wrote about heading to nearby New Paltz and checking out Water Street Market. That post revolved around the glorious sandwich I had at The Cheese Plate, but that wasn’t the only food-related experience I had there. While walking through the aptly named Antiques Barn, I remembered something my mom said: old cook books are always worth checking out. Okay, that’s not an exact quote, but you get the idea. She’s got a whole bookshelf of cook books in the basement of my childhood home from local club ones to Betty Crocker. So, I decided to keep my eyes peeled for a book that would strike my fancy.

Most were pretty boring, but I did stumble upon Northern Italian Cooking by a guy named Frencesco Ghedini. Actually, as the intro explains, the book was actually put together after Ghedini committed suicide in the wake of his wife’s death by Elizabeth Backman. Neither Ghedini nor Backman even have Wikipedia pages, so I don’t really know much about either of them. However the idea of an old school cook book focusing on Italian food by a guy from Italy appealed to me, as did the book’s $5 price tag.

I guess I have a bias towards an older cook book like this, especially because the front is filled with recipes for various kinds of sauces, sauces you make by hand and freeze to use in other recipes throughout the volume. Sure, I could just run out and buy the canned stuff and I probably will do that again in the future, but I have this desire to get in the trenches with my food. I want to make as much from scratch as I can (within reason). I’m hoping to get a basket of tomatoes one of these weekends and spend a few hours working in the kitchen. It’ll be a lot of work, but that doesn’t scare me off. I like the repetition of a project like that and look forward to finally having a break to tackle that project. Of course, I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.


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