Vintage 1980s Healthy Italian Food Cookbook - Cucina Magra Cucina Sana - Marina Polvay
Mamma Contonetti's cooking was homey, friendly and delicious, but her finished dishes were presented in a most artistic and elegant manner... (from the Preface)
Literally translated Cucina Magra, Cucina Sana means Lean Cooking, Healthy Cooking but this vintage cookbook is much more than a nutrition-conscious collection of recipes. It's a story told through food - of Italy's wonderful ability to throw together a few fresh ingredients and turn it into a meal fit for kings.
As its Russian author, Marina Polvay (1928-2002) will be the first to share, she didn't come to Italian cooking by way of birth but rather by way of unshakable curiosity - learning side by side with some of Italy's best cooks - from humble home kitchens like Mamma Contonetti's to professional hotel kitchens of the luxury hospitality industry.
In each, she learned that not all Italian food meant heaping bowls of pasta, endless links of fat sausages, and dense, cheesy lasagnas. She learned that you did not need a ton of butter, a ton of cheese, a ton of meat or salt or expensive ingredients. All you really needed was just a little batch of garden tomatoes, herbs, and peppers, perhaps a bit of fish, pasta, some cured meat, a few knobs of cheese, maybe a little fresh bread. And voila - a memorable meal is made. Simple cooking that also happens to be slim cooking.
Marina's life was fascinating, so much so that we'll be sharing more of it on the blog soon, but in a nutshell, she wore many creative hats throughout her life. Born to a royal Russian family, Marina escaped a Nazi concentration camp, and became a well-respected painter, writer, cookbook author, restaurant owner, business owner, and television host. Her multi-faceted life fueled all of her cooking adventures and each of her 14 cookbooks reflect her passion for foods around the globe.
In addition to Marina, this cookbook also holds another interesting story - a stamp on the inside cover bearing the signature of Ronald W. Del Sesto - the Vice Consul of Italy. Ronald was a long-time lawyer based in Providence, Rhode Island but also a devoted lover to Italy's art, culture, and cuisine as well as a humanitarian supporting legal and environmental issues. Whether this book was in Ronald's private collection or a tourism gift to another Italian food aficionado we will never know. But it does combine two interesting lives that were greatly impacted by Italian cooking.
- Published in 1981, First Edition
- 151 pages
- Includes stamp of Vice Consolato d'Italia Romald W. Del Sesto
- Interesting recipes include Caponata Magra, Mushroom Soup, Fontina Cheese and Red Pepper Antipasto, Mussel Soup, Ravioli in Broth, Liguarian Salad, Veronese Mushrooms, Braised Peas with Prosciutto, Red Snapper Genoa Style, Chicken Mamma Cantonetti, Chicken in White Wine and Brandy, Garden Sauce, Neopolitan Tomato Sauce, Crepes with Spinach and Cheese ... oh and so many more!
In lovely vintage condition. Clean and bright inside and out, this cookbook is free of cooking spots, stains, and notations. The dust jacket has two small rips on the front cover along the top and bottom and edge, and the back cover contains a bit of wrinkling along the bottom edge along with a previously repaired section that involves clear tape.
Measures 9.5" inches (length) x 7.25" inches (width) x .5" inches (thickness) and weigh 1.2lbs.