Friday, April 21, 2006
Cookbook In The Spotlight: Entertaining With The Sopranos
Entertaining With The Sopranos
Compiled by Carmela Soprano
Written by Allen Rucker
Recipes by Michele Scicolone
For my first Cookbook In the Spotlight, I've chosen Entertaining With The Sopranos. This isn't just a cookbook, it's a book on entertaining. Along with fabulous Italian recipes, you'll find tips on just about every form of entertaining and related etiquette advice, mostly given by Soprano family members and friends. Some of it is probably not to be taken seriously (in the baptism section on godfathering '"... godfathering can involve a large cash outlay. In his twenties, the kid may need to borrow ten or twenty grand for an unspecified obligation. Loan it to him, without interest.") but there is actually quite a bit of useful information in this book - diagrams for napkin folding, table setting instructions, bridal shower theme suggestions, etc. Maybe all of the advice would be useful to someone who was actually in the Mafia (if in fact there was such thing as the Mafia - and I'm not saying there is - I don't want any dead fish showing up on my doorstep.)
I noticed at least one warning from an Amazon reviewer, that this book is disappointing as a cookbook (although not disappointing overall) since the reviewer considered the book to contain 'few' recipes. I actually disagree. There may only be about 75 recipes in this book but they represent a variety of foods and I didn't feel the book was lacking in recipes. I don't judge a cookbook by the number of recipes, I judge it by the number of 'do-able' recipes and almost every recipe in this book called out to me to be made sometime in my future.
The recipes aren't complicated and the ingredients called for are pretty standard. So far the only recipe I've tried has been the Crunchy Baked Chicken and it was a great success. I have my eye on just about every other recipe in this book, but in particular I can't wait to make the Spaghetti Pie, Baked Ziti "in bianco" and Caponata. There are only a few recipes I know I would never make - such as Octopus Salad and the Baccala Fritta (fried salt cod). Not that I think these wouldn't be good too, but I know I wouldn't attempt either of those recipes at home.
The recipes would probably not be a challenge for anyone who already does a lot of Italian cooking, nor are they really anything new or novel. However, the recipes combined with the helpful and/or amusing advice make this a cookbook worth having in your collection.
I originally checked this book out of the library but I quickly decided it was worth purchasing and acquired my very own copy. I'm going to rent every season of the Sopranos too!