Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking
Celebrate the simple joys of cooking and eating well with Pamela Sheldon Johns' newest Italian cookbook and three of her most mouthwatering recipes.
In the sun-coated hills of Tuscany Italy—where farmers have been living off the land for generations, a simple and slow life is celebrated. Instead of whipping up whatever is easiest in the kitchen—they cook for the pure pleasure of eating well. Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking, is a truly beautiful cookbook by Pamela Sheldon Johns that lets us into this world of high quality ingredients minus the high-prices and culinary hubbub of today’s world.
The book features more than 60 dishes collected by Johns over her 20 years of living in Tuscany. All of the recipes, from a simple panzanella bread salad to a traditional cimbellone ring cake are the kind of everyday "peasant" fare that is rich in flavor and lean on costly ingredients. Johns profiles locals, neighbors and friends from various Tuscan villages and shares not only their favorite meals, but also their stories of survival despite what is often depicted as overwhelming poverty. These folks had didn’t have the luxury of eating exotic cuisines, shopping at the grocery or wasting even a scrap of food. Yet their meals were still clean and tasted good.
The photography of the book alternates between lushly saturated images and black and white stills of hard-working souls of the past. Johns message is a clear one—respect and remember the hardships of the past and be ever thankful for one's daily bread.
—By Emily Arno
Panzanella is one of several classic recipes using dry or day-old bread.
This hearty healthy vegetable casserole needs no meat to make a satisfying meal.
A simple cake from the tiny Trattoria Tripolitania in Sarteano, Italy.