A Recipe for Life by Antonio Carluccio

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A Recipe for Life by Antonio Carluccio

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Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An honest and very readable autobiography which is particularly fascinating about Carluccio's early life and the influences which made him the man he is today. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: October 2012
Publisher: Hardie Grant Books
ISBN: 978-1742703923

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Antonio Carluccio is a name you know well if you've any interest in food and particularly Italian food. He's well known as a cook, restaurateur, deli owner, television personality and author. In everything he's done he's concentrated on the flavour of the food - this isn't the man to turn to if you're interested in fine dining as there's a lack of frills and ostentation - and he has his own phrase to describe his vision. Mof mof stands for maximum of flavour, minimum of fuss. He's a man after my own heart but when I thought about it I realised that I knew little, beyond the occasional news item, of Carluccio the man. His autobiography came at just the right time.

It's not unusual with autobiographies for the writer to dash through the early years in their haste to get to what they see as the nitty gritty. Antonio Carluccio is the opposite. He takes time to paint us a picture of his earliest months in the south of Italy and the family's move to the north of the country where he grew up. His father was a station master and I swear I could smell the steam trains as I read. The family wasn't well to do, but they lived well and Carluccio's belief in the importance of the flavour of food began with his mother's cooking. The family were close and the death - at the age of thirteen - of his younger brother is a pain which he feels to this day.

I expected that Carluccio would have trained as a chef, but he hasn't. I thought too that he had left Italy to come to England but he's the true Renaissance man with the command of several European languages and expertise in many areas. The moves were sometimes occasioned by the women in his life and frequently meant a change of occupation. Cooking was simply a skill which he acquired, firstly to feed himself and then to entertain friends. The love of food shines through, with some detailed - and mouthwatering - descriptions of meals and his move into the restaurant business seemed as natural as it was obvious.

The book is a pleasure beyond the reading of a fascinating life. Between the chapters there are fourteen recipes for delicious Italian dishes. I can testify to the flavour of the Neapolitan tomato sauce and I'm planning to try the truffled eggs as soon as I can source some white truffle. There's an introduction from Raymond Blanc - a great friend and another creator of great food who lacks the formal training. It's a beautifully presented book too - and one to treasure.

I'd like to thank the publishers for dropping a copy into the Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then we think that you might also enjoy Relish: My Life on a Plate by Prue Leith.

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Buy A Recipe for Life by Antonio Carluccio at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Recipe for Life by Antonio Carluccio at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Recipe for Life by Antonio Carluccio at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Recipe for Life by Antonio Carluccio at Amazon.com.


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