Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Intro: Beyond the Pasta

Prologue 
Some passionate love affairs are easily forgotten, others are only remembered as passing fancies or are over before they ever truly begin, but some are so instantaneously intense and wrought with pure, unbridled emotion that they can forever alter your life. I have had two such love affairs in my life and the one led to the other. 
It began with my first trip to Italy in September 2001. This trip was not going to be a guided tour; instead it was a self-catered vacation - a thrilling idea: to have the freedom to navigate the country and the culture with no guides, only my partner Richard and our mothers. "Wait a minute - a love affair began while on vacation with your mothers and partner?" Yes, and it was a love affair of the heart, too, but not the kind you are imagining.
Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family
by Mark Leslie

This book caught my attention when it was offered as a kindle deal for $3.99. My first impulse was to "purchase with 1-click", but then I realized recipes are included and I hate e-cookbooks. Luckily, my library had a copy (obviously well-loved). So far this book is almost as good as a trip to Italy.

The goodreads summary makes it sounds even more appealing:
Several years ago, on a break between theatrical gigs in Alabama, Mark traveled to Italy and fell in love with the people, food and culture. Armed with just enough courage, minimal Italian language skills, and a certain proficiency in the kitchen, he enrolled in a full-immersion cooking and language program. He would travel to Viterbo, Italy and live with an Italian family. His teachers were beyond his wildest dreams-he learned to cook from the grandmother, or Nonna, of the family, who prepared every meal in a bustling, busy household, as women in her family have done for generations. Her daughter, Alessandra, taught him the language with patience and precision. Besides culinary secrets and prepositions, they opened their lives to him, and made him a real part of their extensive family. Though the book contains authentic, delicious family recipes Nonna shared with Mark, Beyond the Pasta delves into food memoir subject matter not found in a typical cookbook. It was the day-to-day shopping with Nonna, exploring the countryside and le gelaterie, where he truly developed his language skills, and a new, more joyful and uniquely Italian way of looking at the world. 
What do you think? Would you keep reading?
The kindle deal was still available last time I checked.


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

40 comments:

  1. Yum - I love food memoirs about Italy...the food truly is completely different over there!

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    1. Sarah - I'd love recommendations for other Italian foodie memoirs!

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  2. Hmmmm....I'm up in the air on this one. I love Italian food and reading about Italy.....but I'm not really a memoir type of reader. I may have to give this a try, though.
    Today I am featuring "Cancel The Wedding' by Carolyn T. Dingman.

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    1. Kim - This is more of a travel journal, if that helps.

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  3. I would - I feel the same way about Italian food!

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    1. Diane - The recipes look great, too!

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  5. I enjoyed the opener. Glad you are enjoying it. I love Italy. Would visit every year if I could.

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    1. Maya - I've never been to Italy, but hope to one day.

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  6. This book sounds amazing. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    My Tuesday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2014/08/first-chapter-first-paragraph-72-and.html

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    1. Catherine - You're welcome. I'm almost halfway done and really enjoying it!

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  7. The opening is great. I am not much of a cook though. So this might not be for me. I hope you enjoy it.

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    1. Pat - If you like reading about food, I think you'd enjoy this one.

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  8. I like foodie reads, even memoirs. I would love to go to Italy also, so yes I would read this one.

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    1. Rita - This may end up on my "foodie favorites" list!

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  9. I'm hungry just reading this post and I love Italian food. Yes, I'd keep reading.

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    1. Yvonne - I have to be careful not to pick this book up when I'm hungry ;-)

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  10. I am glad you were able to find this one at the library! I really like Italian food too. :-) I am not much for foodie books though, but this one sounds good.

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    1. Literary Feline - Even though my branch didn't have it, they got it for me through interlibrary loan. Seems like I can find most books somewhere within the system.

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  11. Oh, this one sounds so delightful that I must know more! Thanks for sharing...and enjoy. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I'm going to have fun trying a few of the recipes, too!

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  12. I don't know anything about Italy so that would be an interesting read.
    Peggy @ The Pegster Reads

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    1. Peggy - I like all the little cultural tidbits that are included.

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  13. This sounds like a very good book. It sounds like you are on a journey of discovery. Enjoy. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

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    1. Kelley - It makes me want to start planning my own trip to Italy!

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  14. I want this book!! I agree about not liking cookbooks in ebook form. It's not nearly the same. I'll have to see if my library has this one or just go on and order it!

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    1. Katherine - I have a felling I'm going to end up buying my own copy of this book, and probably one for my mother, too.

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  15. I"m enchanted! This sounds like a book I'd adore (especially with recipes included).
    My Tuesday post features KATIE & THE IRISH TEXAN.

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    1. Sandra - It's hard to go wrong with a book about Italy and food! ;-)

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  16. How could anyone resist those first two paragraphs? I definitely want to keep going.

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    1. Margot - I agree. This book is totally irresistible!

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  17. I think this is a gentle and exciting book. I like the idea that he lived with the Italian family and got to know the grandmother.

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    1. Topazshell - It sure sounds like an ideal vacation to me!

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  18. I am the same with ecookbooks. I want to buy them, especially when they are on a deal, but I don't like to read cookbooks on an ereader. This one looks very delicious!

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    1. Athira - I'll occasionally look up a recipe and cook from my laptop, but don't think I'll ever be one for e-cookbooks.

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  19. I so want this book! My library doesn't have it either, but since it isn't a brand-new book, I may be able to get it through inter-library loan too. I am going through a bit of a noodle phase right now - this could just make things worse :) in a good way.

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    1. Lisa - Inter-library loan is the best! Seems like almost anything is available somewhere in our system. Good luck!

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    1. Sheila - Mine, too... I love this kind of book.

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