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Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family

By Mark Leslie
Gemelli Press, 2010
$32, Hardcover


Reviewed by Julia Oliver

Theatre professional Mark Leslie has made Alabama his home base for almost a quarter of a century. His peripatetic career as a stage manager keeps him on the move around this country, and he spends his vacation time in Italy. This fascinating memoir/cookbook includes Leslie’s daily journal of August 2005, when he lived in Viterbo (in the Lazio region just south of Tuscany) with a family who became his tutors in the language, culinary arts, and the Italian way of "looking at the world."

The book is a fine brew of recipes, black and white photographs, and colorful, anecdotal narrative. Keep this one in mind for Christmas gifts to travelers, epicures, and stay-at-homes who like to read about other people’s adventures. As Fannie Flagg succinctly notes on the jacket: "Alabama and Italy—what a delightful and delicious combination." Nov. 2010

Julia Oliver reads and writes in Montgomery.

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