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Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey: The…

Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey: The Mediterranean Flavors of Sardinia

by Efisio Farris

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An interesting cookbook with unusual homestyle recipes from Sardinia. Not your common spaghetti and meatballs italian cooking but one that includes unusual ingredients like myrtle, bitter honey, and fregula (toasted semolina pasta). There are recipes for mussels, goat, tripe, eel and fresh cheese curd and the commentary that goes alongside (Efisio Farris grew up in Sardina and his family still lives there) makes this book an excellent addition to eclectic food and cooking collections.
  chaparroc | Aug 19, 2008 |
There are three things that I look for whenever I am considering purchasing a new cookbook: it has to be practical, it has to teach me something I didn’t know about food, and it has to make me hungry. Farris manages to do all of these things within the first ten pages of the book. His “table of contents” is actually an extended recipe list, backed up at the end by a careful index—de rigueur for any cookbook to be considered practical. And the recipes themselves—“mussels on the half shell with spicy tomato relish,” “pasta with baby artichokes, salad of arugula,” “ricotta and walnuts”—were more than enough to make me hungry.

However, what really sets Sweet Myrtle & Bitter Honey apart from other cookbooks devoted to a regional cuisine is the effort Farris makes to bring the reader into the rhythm of life in his native island. Recipes are not just introduced with small personal anecdotes, but almost explained, placed within the seasonal routines of his family and neighbors and Sardinia as a whole. The introduction is titled “History Matters” and opens with the following—well, I’d almost be tempted to call it a mission statement: “From the moment you sit down at our table, the important thing is not how much we serve you but that we welcome you by serving the best of what we have.” . . .read full review
  southernbooklady | Apr 28, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0847829928, Hardcover)

Sardinia now rivals its northern neighbor Provence as a vacation destination. The coastline lures visitors, but it is the food that will make you linger. Chef Efisio Farris is poised to become the next great ambassador of Italian regional cuisine. To promote the cooking of his native Sardinia, he has appeared on the Food Network, given demonstrations at food festivals across the country, and even launched his own company that imports Sardinian specialties for his restaurants and for retail. It is Mediterranean cooking at its purest, making liberal use of olive oil, fish, and fresh vegetables. But it’s also distinguished by indigenous ingredients that are becoming hot trends in America: pecorino, flatbread, fava beans, fregula, and bottarga. Farris has pulled together more than one hundred recipes–many of them family secrets. Among them are Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Ricotta Salata; Pannacotta with Bitter Honey; and Bruschetta with Sausage and Pecorino Sardo. More than 150 breathtaking images take you on a tour of the countryside–from the terraced olive groves to the riverbanks full of wild asparagus. In sidebars, the author relates charming anecdotes and Sardinian history. Readers will come away not just with a taste for the island’s flavors but also a sense of Sardinia’s magical beauty and culture.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:12 -0400)

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