The Talisman Italian Cook Book by Ada Boni - 1974 Ronzoni Macaroni Edition
Cooking is a language all its own. Emanuele Ronzoni
What happens when you pair two Italian food icons together? You get this special edition cookbook collaboration - the classic Talisman Italian Cook Book enhanced with references for America's famous long-standing pasta brand, Ronzoni Macaroni. Both have been at the heart of the Italian kitchen since the early 1900s.
To start at the beginning of this cooking adventure you have to travel all the way back to 1928. That's when Italian fashion editor and foodie Ada Boni (1881-1973) published her cookbook - Il Talismano in Rome. It was a behemoth - 866 pages - and it quickly became the favored book of recipes for all of Italy.
In the 1920s, Ada was inspired by the precise cooking techniques and instruction of America's Fannie Farmer and wanted to create something of equal value for her own country. Most Italian women in those days learned to cook from their mothers, aunts and grandmothers using passed-down recipes. They prepared local food gathered from their local region, and when set to cooking in the kitchen, most ingredients came together in an intuitive fashion. Then, It was all about a pinch of this, a handful of that, and a certain level of trust that the traditional Italian home cook knew all the ins and outs and nuances of preparing an authentic dish from scratch. Who needed a cookbook when you had you had actual family members to consult?
But Ada wanted to bring all those multi-generational recipes from all over Italy together into one book so that every cook would have access to tried, trusted, and true recipes. She wanted to make a cookbook that was a complete taste of her beloved country from the top of the boot all the way to the toe.
In the 1950s, Ada's cookbook hopped over to America thanks to Columbia University translator, Matilda Pei and Ronzoni Macaroni. An instant success again, that first American debut inspired U.S. home cooks across the country to replicate authentic Italian cuisine exactly the way it was prepared in the old country.
In 1915, Emanuele Ronzoni, a young Italian immigrant started his own pasta factory in Queens, NY. Like Ada's book, The Ronzoni Macaroni Company was practically an instant hit upon opening and in just a few short years it was on its way to becoming a trusted pasta brand in America. Over 100 years later, Ronzoni is still going strong.
When Ada's book debuted in the US in the mid-20th century it was paired down from its original 880+ pages to just under 300 pages. It was adapted to American kitchen measurements and oven temperatures. But its ingredients, techniques, and cooking processes remained the same. It's an Italian cookbook meant for Italian cooks in America, not an Italian-American cookbook meant for Americans. That difference of distinction lies in its authenticity of execution. Here you'll find recipes for Neopolitan-style pork chops, Roman-style broccoli, Genoa Swiss Chard, and Milano Panettone. You'll travel the country via taste, via town, via budgets large and small,, via local ingredients and via their availability.
Enhanced with vintage ads for Ronzoni pasta, this unique cookbook becomes both a time capsule of 20th-century culinary achievement and also a delicious romp through the kitchen landscape of Italy. Ada's book is still considered the best resource of Italian recipe curation and is beloved by both professional chefs and home cooks in Italy and abroad.
Photo of Ada Boni (pictured at center) courtesy of Maga Maghetta.
- 1974 edition
- 268 pages plus a detailed index
- includes colorful vintage Ronzoni advertisements, product placement and pasta diagrams
- special sections on wine and an Italian-to-English glossary
In good vintage condition, this book bears a little bit of sun fading on the spine and also a small scuff mark on the bottom edge. The interior is very clean and bright with the exception of a few pages that have been tanned to acidity from newspaper clippings. All pages are intact and the spine is tight.
Measure 8.5" length x 5.75" inches (width) x 1" inch (thickness) and weighs 1.2 lbs