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My Bizarre Cookbook Collection: Part I


This depiction of vegetables marching into the smirking cauldron of doom is one of the more tame drawings...

Le Delizie Della Mia Cucina by Romeo Salta (called "Pleasures of Italian Cooking" in the U.S. printing) is arguably the strangest book in my home. Published in Italy in 1962, this hardcover is a tour of that great food nation's classic dishes. Since I haven't had time to translate my way through its pages, I've thus far simply fallen in love with its many oddities.

Some of the more charming illustrations include the drunken beet vomiting in an alleyway, a crazed turban squash wandering a field with a heavy club, an angry scallion shaming a distraught yellow onion, and a sneering turnip overseer whipping a groveling slave beet.

As if the drawings weren't enough, Le Delizie also features dramatically styled full-color photography in which copper silverware sprouts up from a luxe ocean-side picnic and a rolling pin hovers threateningly above a delicious-looking pasta spread.

Most impressive are the pages and pages of wine, spirit and olive oil labels. Not just reproductions of labels, mind you, but actual labels pasted to the pages of the book. My favorite of these is probably the enormous Cinzano vermouth label on page 162 with its bold type and flashy gold foil details.

Because I'm so terribly sweet, I've painstakingly typed out this sample recipe — the contents of which mean something close to gibberish to me.

Trigle al Forno
8 triglie di misura media
3 o 4 cucchiai di olio di oliva
un cucchianio di aceto
una manciata di pressemolo tritato
il succo di mezzo limone
2 spicchi d'aglio
una cipolla
2 scalogini
un pizzico di timo
un pizzico di origano
una foglia di lauro
sale
pepe.

Scegliere triglie molto fresche. Pulirle estrarne le interiora; rimettervi dentro il fegato. Lavarle e non asciugarle.

Mondare e lavarle la cipolla, gli scalogni, il prezze-molo e l'aglio, tritare finemente ogni cosa. Spargere la metá di questo tritato sul fondo di un tegame da forno rettangolare che possa essere portato anche in tavola. Collocarvi sopra le triglie l'una accanto all'altra; spruzzarle di aceto, sale e pepe; aggiungere un pizzico di timo o di origano e un poco di lauro. Ricoprire poi le triglie con il resto del tritato e cospargerlo di 3 o 4 cucchiai di olio di oliva. Mettere al forno giá caldo e farle cuocre a fuoco medio per un quarto d'ora o venti minuti; e bagnarle piú volte. Un minuto o due prima di togliere i pesci dal forno spremervi sopra il succo di mezzo limone, smuovere bene la salsa dal fondo del tegame e servire caldissimo.

Per 4 persone.


Addendum:
Romeo Salta's book gets a bit more attention (and a few more image scans) at the beautiful Giornale Nuovo...

12.09.2004

1 Comments:

Anonymous Romeo Salta said...

It was a pleasure reading these comments about my father's cookbook. Even as a kid I found the book unique, to say the least.

Romeo Salta, Jr.
romeosalta@mac.com

8/20/2005  

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