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Ramblings of an independent bookstore rep



Italian, My Way by Jonathan Waxman

Yesterday The New York Times had a nice piece on the amazing Jonathan Waxman. His new book Italian, My Way goes on sale April 5th and is truly wonderful.

If you don’t know Jonathan Waxman from his West Village restaurant Barbuto, you might recognize him from Top Chef Masters, where he was known as the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” of the kitchen—and one of my personal favorites of the show.

I love the simplicity of the recipes in this cookbook and it is one David and I plan on slowly working our way through.

Here are a few excerpts from the NYT article:

He insisted on writing the book himself, without relying on an experienced author as chefs usually do … ‘There was a co-writer for my first book who kept putting in stuff that wasn’t me. I looked at those little blocks of text and I said to myself, ‘I can do that kind of thing.’’

His refreshingly offhand, often irreverent voice is certainly there. Here’s how he introduces his recipe for gnocchi with spring vegetables and basil: ‘I’ve never liked the renditions of gnocchi that I’ve eaten in Italy and America. They were always gummy, covered with béchamel or another yucky sauce.’

The cookbook, which will go on sale in about two weeks, reflects the food of Barbuto; Italian, flavored by unmistakably Californian elements. Cooking your way through all the simple, fresh, dynamically seasoned dishes is an appealing idea, and one that would not be hugely challenging providing you pay attention to what Mr. Waxman has to say about choosing your ingredients.

The photos illustrating the collection of 150 or so recipes, by Christopher Hirsheimer, are artful, but in black and white, as simple as the food.

'You have to be brave to cook,' Mr. Waxman said.