Mammissima is written by Elisabetta Minervini, who was born in Molfetta, near Bari, a medieval port in the beautiful region of
Puglia in southern Italy. She moved to England in 1997, is the founder of award‐winning publishing company Alma Books. She lives in Richmond, London, with her husband Alessandro and their two children, aged twelve and nine.
So the author is Italian (so obviously very stylish and sexy), at the very least bilingual, deeply successful professionally, possibly rich (well she does live in Richmond), is married to a fellow sexy Italian (see Italian note previously) and has raised two children. So all in all I have no idea why on earth she would want to write a cook book. I mean, really, she has enough going on. No?
Mammissima is beautifully designed. The illustrations remind me of some of the 1960s cook books I own. And I mean that in a good way. The layout is clear (hurrah! cook books without a clear layout and font are such vanity projects) and the photography is beautiful. The paper is slightly rough. It’s tactile and earthy.
It is jam packed with recipes you’ll want to cook. Lots with simple ingredients, some less so. There’s baked cuttlefish with peas, pan fried escalopes with cherry tomatoes, yo yo cakes, lentil soup, potato and rosemary pizza, green bean salad, lamb chops braised in milk, meatloaf, sole cooked in clarified butter. I could go on. In short, loads of recipes that leave you smacking your lips and reaching for a pen to make a shopping list. There’s a lovely preamble before each recipe that remains pretty long for a recipe book. It lets you into Elisabetta’s world.
What didn’t I like? Well, this isn’t Elisabetta’s fault, but I think this book being portrayed as (this is a direct quote) ‘perfect for busy mammas… a way of cooking that suits the modern lifestyle, with dishes that can be prepared quickly and easily using inexpensive, healthy ingredients’ might leave some mothers feeling a little inadequate. Yes there are lots of recipes that aren’t hugely expensive but there are a fair few that are. Many of the recipes also take some degree of time, more time than a lot of mothers who work outside of the home may be able to allocate. Plus there’s more than one reference to shopping at local butchers and fishmongers which for a lot of us isn’t possible (through their closure, the time required to shop in lots of smaller shops or purely that the price is higher). I can imagine some mums I know scoffing that this is not a cook book for people like them. I guess my beef is that there’s a trade description issue. If the book were just touted as an amazing Italian cook book then that would work better for me.
Back to the positives. I liked the book. I will use it for sure. (Which often doesn’t happen). My main memory of reading this book is that the voice of the author feels authentic and not in any way pared back by her Editor. Now she references in the back how wonderful editing made this book so much better than it might have been. I’d love to see exactly how much trimming and how many suggestions went on. I think Elisabetta is allowed to be very much herself here. There’s a lot less saccharine cook book speak than in your average family cook book. I like that. Oh and I feel like I learnt an awful lot about Italy which made this book feel part cook book and part nostalgic travel guide. A good mixture for me.
I have 3 copies of Mammissima worth £20 (RRP) each to giveaway to three people. There are lots of ways to enter – see the Rafflecopter form below. The first way is just to leave a comment on this post. Easy peasy. Closing date 29th July 2016. How to enter:
- Complete the Rafflecopter form below to confirm your entries made via blog comments, Twitter, Facebook etc.
- This giveaway will close on 29th July 2016.
- Please read the rules below.
- Winners are announced on the Rafflecopter form after the prize has been claimed by the winner.
- First timers: Please watch how Rafflecopter works (video)! It is 46 seconds long. It explains everything.
- If no form is showing, hit refresh and it should appear.
- Complete the form – or your beloved entries will not go into the draw. And that would be such a waste of time.
- Mandatory entries need to be completed first – so leave a blog comment before you try and complete any of the other methods of entry.
- Want more chances to win? Come back daily after tweeting about the giveaway and fill the form in again.
- If you are viewing this by email you will need to click through to enter.
Rules and things:
- Open to anyone over the age of 18, UK inc Northern Ireland. Sorry to anyone younger or further afield.
- There is 3 x signed copies of Mammissima RRP £20 to giveaway to three people. There’s no cash alternative to the prize and the prize is not transferable. No part or parts of the prize may be substituted for other benefits, items or additions.
- Instructions form part of the terms and conditions. Entries using any software or automated process to make bulk entries will obviously be disqualified. The winner will be picked at random using software and then contacted by email. If you win and then don’t respond to this email within 7 days then another winner will be picked so check your emails and your spam! The goodies will be delivered to the winner as soon as possible after you have sent me your delivery address.
- I am running this giveaway on behalf of Bloomsbury who will be responsible for sending the prize to you by post should you win. Their decision is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
- This is where I get all stern – please don’t say you have liked the post and followed me on Twitter and Tweeted away like a Tweety thing if you haven’t as guess what? If you win I will check you did do the things you said you did. It’s only fair after all. And I do like fairness.
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