Here is an ebook dedicated to rice, Northern Italian rice in particular, showcasing the diversity and range of dishes that can be produced at home. Think of Italy and you probably first think of pasta and pizza, yet it is a shame that this durable, flexible ingredient is often overlooked.
A hundred different rice recipes, ranging from soups and salads to desserts are on offer, following on from a brief, yet interesting, history of rice in Italy and its immersion into the national cuisine as well as a general overview on some common ingredients used.
Written from a North American perspective, the book makes frequent comparisons to Italian ingredients and ‘Italian’ ingredients that are often to be found on supermarket shelves, often packaged to give as a legally-clear-as-possible suggestion of Italian authenticity. The book aims, after all, to show you how to make an authentic-as-possible Northern Italian dishes, whilst making practical acceptances to reality.
The recipes themselves are presented in a clear, simple manner that should not present any special problems for those who attempt them. However, inexplicably, there are no photographs of the dishes. This is an eBook! There is no costly production of a printed book to make a cost-conscious publisher think twice about adding lots of expensive pages. A book of this kind should and must have photographs as they add to the reader’s inspiration and can act as a virtual comfort blanket for those who are uncertain if a dish has, in fact, turned out OK. This is a shame, a big shame which sadly makes the book feel less of an integrated work of joy, of reference and use. Instead it feels a bit like someone has just downloaded a lot of recipes from the Internet, reformatted the text and dropped them into one big file.
There is variety amongst the recipes. There is the potential to encourage you to try something new. But the whole concept feels severely let down by design and the lack of photography. Fortunately, this is not typical of many eBooks nowadays. Hopefully the publishers will wake up, smell the (Italian?) coffee and rush out a version 2.0 edition.
Riso: Undiscovered Rice Dishes of Northern Italy, written by Gioietta Vitale and published by Open Road. ISBN 9781453246276 (EBOOK), 140 pages. Typical price: USD14.95. YYY.