'Throughout Versatile, traditional recipes are presented with optional ingredients to be added or removed according to the various palates and tastes of family and friends, an approach that reflects the heart of Italian cuisine...it is this book's legacy of recipes that most evocatively encapsulates the Italian philosophy of food as nourishment for both body and the spirit.' Grazia Giuliani In Italy, one cooks a family meal and everyone in the family eats that meal. Variations to the original recipe may be added or taken away - cheese, pepper, spices, herbs are optional - but the basic ingredients and the way of preparing the meal are the same for everyone, young and old. With chapters dedicated to the journeys that have been experienced by her family, 'Versatile' captures the discovery of seasonal variety, and the colours and scents of dishes that they enjoyed together.
Italian cuisine is regional rather than national and often there are several interpretations of a single recipe, each developed according to local traditions and the availability of regional ingredients. In Italy, everybody has always something to say or to add!Throughout the book, the theme of versatility is further enhanced when a family adopt a recipe, they take the destiny of a recipe into their own hands, shaping and serving yet more versions of a classic dish across the generations. 'Versatile: Cooking & Living Italian' features the journey of a Mother, eating and cooking throughout her lifetime.
The recipes in this book are ones that Grazia Giuliani has been enjoying and cooking since she was a child, she has grown up with these herself, held onto them throughout her childhood and has now given, as a gift, to her own Bambini. Growing up with homemade jams, preserves, pickles, fresh pasta and cakes, as well as shopping at local markets and handling fruit and vegetables, learning about which to choose, looking at their colour, feeling their consistency, smelling their scent, are all part of a knowledge that Grazia gradually picked up by doing the same things with her mother. It was family time that would develop into them enjoying cooking together and culminated a meal eaten together.
This book is her way of suggesting that creating awareness in children about what they put in their mouths could be the start of a more adventurous and, in the future, educated palate. As well as simple recipes that children can prepare for the family, the book features an entire chapter dedicated to the many celebrated special occasions that see Italians gather around large tables with family and friends. Le Feste (special occasions) are another wonderful 'excuse' to rejoice with plenty of delicious food, fine wine and delightful company.
In addition to her own recipes and those handed down to her by her mother, this book also includes recipes passed on by other members of Grazia's family and who share her love for food.