APRIL 14, 2024                                                                                                                                                                  NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


"Still Life" by Pierre Bonnard


By John A. Curtas


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John A. Curtas



      Dinner at Can Culleretes (supposedly the second oldest restaurant in Spain) was punctuated by a surly teenage waitress and a hostess with all the charm of a hemorrhoid. But the historic rooms (since 1786) were a sight to see and the tariff soft, especially wine, with bottles costing what a glass does in Las Vegas. This held true in both Barcelona and Madrid, in restaurants both humble and hi-falutin'. Our dinner for four (with enough food for six) came to €252, including two bottles of wine.
      The food, though, a decent mixed seafood grill and lots of stewed proteins, was one b-flat taste sensation after the next. The charms of Culleretes's famed brandade-stuffed cannelloni (right) also escaped us, with  every leaden bite confirming that under-seasoning must be a rule in Catalan kitchens. We also left wondering if cured fish, olives, and eggs are the three-chord rock of Catalonia, and whether there is some kind of law against not serving anchovies in Spain.
      Can Solé 1903 redeemed things with sparkling paella served by friendly folks who seemed genuinely happy to have us. We had booked on-line about a month out, and as soon as the doors opened, we were shown to the best seat in the house, right in the front room, from where we could watch the steady stream of patrons as well as various dishes flying forth from the kitchen, all of it washed down with pitchers of white sangria. Can Solé is only a block from the marina, so the salt essence of the shore permeates the food and setting. Seafood always tastes best within eyesight of an ocean, and our paella proved the point as the salt air seasoned every bite. A steal at €43.
      What you'll find in these old-school Barcelona establishments is sticker shock in reverse. Barcelona may be a tourist town, but we saw little evidence of price-gouging. It also didn't take long to figure out what a bargain wine is in Spain. The most expensive Spanish wine on the Can Solé list was €34 euros. At Can Culleretes it was €29.50 for a very good Priorat red. Even in fancy joints, the pricier offerings were often well under €100. All of it a welcome respite from the eye-watering wine prices on this side of the pond. Lunch for four, including two bottles of wine (Corpinnat and Albariño) and sangria, came to €298 euros.
      Good values abound, even in the high-rent district. Such was our experience at Gresca (below), a sliver of a gastro-pub a few blocks west of the tony Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona's grandest avenue. A row of four-tops lines one cramped wall, leading to an open kitchen that straddles a second, parallel, space. The few waiters scramble between tables while a half-dozen cooks toil away, churning out small plates (not really tapas, despite what the Internet says) that were the most compelling dishes we had in Barcelona–-rabbit kidneys, sweetbreads, bacon-thin bikini cheese toast, cod "gilda" pintxos, grilled quail (below), all of it so toothsome we were fighting over the last bites. Everything washed down with excellent wines from regions we barely know made by producers we've never heard of, which is why God invented sommeliers. It was a menu showcasing both ingenuity and restraint—a rarity in "modern" restaurants these days. Cooking this sophisticated will always merit a higher tariff, but ours still came to only €120 per person, including three bottles of wine.
      If Gresca made us feel like an in-the-know local, Lomo Alto brought out our inner carnivorous connoisseur. What first resembles a slightly antiseptic butcher shop leads to a stairway up to a second floor of capacious booths designed for one thing: to showcase the best beef in Spain. Before you get to your dictionary-thick steaks, though, you'll first plow through some beautiful bread, three kinds of olive oil, "old cow" carpaccio with smoked Castilian cheese, and some of the softest artichokes known to man.
      Then the steaks appear in the center of the U-shaped booths, the carving starts, and you are transported to a higher level of beef eating. We did a side-by-side of two steaks—vaca vieja chuleton, a rib steak aged both on the hoof and in the fridge; the other, a very lean, 60- to 80-day aged rib of Simmental beef from Germany. Neither was cheap: €145 and €118, together amounting to about €300 of grass-fed beef split among four people. As compared to an American steakhouse, I'd give it an A- for food (the Simmental was as chewy as overcooked octopus and not worth the fee) and high marks for service, despite the sterile décor exuding all the hospitality of a hospital. But I'll remember that rib steak and those starters for a long time, and will never forget that the Spanish way to cook beef is basically to yell "fire!" as the meat is leaving the kitchen.




450 East 29th Street


By John Mariani
Photos by Svetlana Blasucci


      Talk about hiding in plain sight! How did I miss a striking venue with a Kips Bay panorama on the East River that’s been around for fifteen years?
    Perhaps until recently there wasn’t much to say about Riverpark’s huge dining room way at the end of a closed-off street complete with off-putting security guards within the vast Apella by Alexandria event space tower, across from Bellevue Hospital.  There had, however, been a renovation not long ago and a revamping of the restaurant and kitchen, now under chef  de cuisine Kishen Jagmohan, who has a special talent for blending Eastern and Western culinary flavors and techniques in refreshing ways.
      Created by Backal Hospitality Group, Riverpark (there actually is a parking lot) is a dauntingly dramatic space with soaring ceilings, sculptural lighting that flatters everyone beneath it, caramel colored leather chairs and windows that wrap around the room for maximum effect. The tables are made from polished golden wood and are set with soft-glowing lamps.  The ever-changing cityscape of Queens lights up as the East River flows quickly by.
      The dining room seats 85, meaning the space between tables is generous, with 76 seats outdoors on The Terrace and a 150-seat private dining room. For its location on the river, but on a grander scale, it compares for New York panache with the River Café in Brooklyn and Water’s Edge.
Jagmohan was born and raised in Guyana, which draws in the food of other South American nations like Brazil, Venezuela, and Surname as well as Caribbean overtures. You can readily taste those international influences throughout his cooking, as when pristine tuna carpaccio ($24) is laced with pickled chilies, yuzu wasabi aïoli and a rice cracker.  A beautiful blue crab soup has the sweetness of butternut squash, the spice of red sorrel and the texture of fregola ($19), while gambas al ajillo begins with jumbo shrimp cooked just till tender and lashed with garlic, white wine, red paprika and served with the Spanish crushed tomato-on-toast called pa amb tomàquet ($24).
You quickly receive good focaccia with olive oil and soft butter. You might also start off with a platter of charcuterie, including house-made chicken liver pâté.
      There is a changing four-course tasting menu, which I enjoyed along with à la carte with my guests. First course was seared tuna served at room temperature with grilled cabbage, soy aïoli, and house togarashi chili seasoning for spark. Second course was a two-hour egg whose yolk flowed over sunchoke and chanterelle mushrooms. The third was a spiced confit of pork belly with plenty of fat on it, shaved asparagus and brightly colored arugula pesto. For dessert, lemon cheesecake and mousse torte.  
Everything has wonderful color. There are a couple of pasta dishes as main courses, including a toothsome gnocchi incorporating green garlic and served in a hearty braised lamb reduction with preserved tomato,  parmesan crumble and a lovely roasted red pepper puree ($32),
      Jagmohan chooses well-fatted scallops, sears them quickly and serves them with caramelized salsify and a grenobloise puree of  root vegetables ($43). There are a seasonal fish for two at market price, but I went for the rich flavors of black sea bass grilled and cuddled with snap peas, bacon, pickled chili, pea puree and a dash of black vinegar for acid ($42).
These are imaginative, sumptuous dishes that are as delicious as they were delectable just to look at. Executive Pastry Chef Jamai Brown follows through with desserts ($14) like chocolate Paris-Brest with hazelnut ganache, coffee caramel and vanilla ice cream; lemon cheesecake mousse; and irresistible sticky toffee pudding with banana ice cream. There are also five cheeses offered ($10 each or all for $45).
         The long wine list is remarkably inclusive, with bottles from Hungary, South Africa, Armenia, Greece and Israel, as well as an abundance of offerings from France, Italy and the U.S., with a good number of wines under $100, and mark-ups on the rest are remarkably fair at about 100%,  even for many good Burgundies. Still, the list needs trimming, especially among white wines that date from a decade ago: a Sancerre from Domaine Pierre Martin from 2018 was clearly over-the-hill.
      There are also about 30 wines by the glass ($15-$31) and 20 beers.
         Riverpark’s young service staff is amiable and knowledgeable about the food but they need to be shoo-ed away from congregating at the bar after nine o’clock, when guests have to call across the room to get their attention.
         I can imagine how glorious the view will be from inside and out Riverpark as spring warms up. I just wish I’d known about it years ago.


Open for lunch and dinner Mon.-Friday


By  John Mariani


Professor Porter continued, “By the time of the Great Depression, which affected the entire world, the Irish economy was in a desperate shambles, and the Sisters of Charity were taking in at least a hundred young women a year.”

         “When did the abuse begin?” asked Katie.

         “Probably around that time, 1930s, ‘40s, and after the war. You have to remember that Irish Catholicism had become very punitive, drifting away from the positive preachings of Jesus Christ, which were all about love, forgiveness, repentance and redemption. The parochial schools run by the Irish replaced that view with the idea that all men were sinners and women were temptresses, weak in moral integrity, all of them bound for hellfire.”

         This was not really news to Katie or David, who had gone through parochial schools where the principal concerns of the clergy were focused on the Sixth and Ninth Commandments—“Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife,” which by extension included any and all sins of the flesh, from masturbation to abortion and homosexuality, any of which were mortal sins that would send the sinner to eternal damnation.

         Porter then said, “Beyond what I’ve told you, I haven’t much in the way of details on what happened inside those asylums except that the women had no say in whether they went in or got out. Those decisions were made entirely by the girls’ families or courts or the parish priests. They changed the girls’ names once inside. And if a girl went in pregnant, the baby would come to term and be taken away from the girl and put up for adoption.  She’d never see her child again.”

         “Why did they become laundries?” asked Professor Mundt.

         “Laundries were profitable, for one thing. They did all the laundry for the churches and convents. It was very hard work, punishingly so, but very easy and cheap to set up as opposed to, say, a textile factory or a workhouse.  And, of course, it had always been considered ‘women’s work.’  I’ve heard it said that one reason the Magdalene Laundries eventually died out was because washing machines made them obsolete. I’ve seen figures that suggest at least 10,000 women and girls passed through the laundries between independence from Britain in 1922 and the closing of the last one in 1996.”

         Katie asked if there was good documentation on all Porter had told them. He replied, “I wish there were. We’re getting info from individuals, interviews in the newspapers with former inmates, but there has yet to be a serious, in-depth study of the asylums and their history. I know of little or nothing in American scholarship.”

         “And do you know anything about this discovery of a mass unmarked grave on Church property with hundreds of unidentified bodies?” asked David.

         “Only what’s been in the newspapers in the early ‘90s, and I haven’t heard of any police investigation that came up with anything since then.”

         Katie’s journalistic nerves were pulsing, while David’s detective instincts were simmering. 

         “Father Porter, do you remember Joseph Evangelista?”

         Porter’s eyes lit up. “Of course I do. What a wonderful young man.  I was his mentor in joining the Jesuits. Heard he was posted to the Philippines? Have you been in touch with Joseph?”

         In astonishment Porter listened to what Katie then told him about her friend and how and why he’d left the order and how his revelations had actually been what prompted her to investigate abuse within the Church.

         “I’m sure he’d like to see you,” she said. “He’s right here in the Bronx, staying with his parents for the time being. I could ask him if he’d like to speak with you.”

         Porter said, “Oh, Katie, I really wish you would.  Maybe I can be of some help to him. Sounds like he’s been through a lot. And he’s hardly the first priest to come to such a sad exit because of this vicious, ongoing problem within the Church.”

         The four of them spoke a while longer, and Katie obtained the names of a few people she might be interested in contacting with regard to the Magdalene Laundries, all of them in Dublin.  Porter insisted on being kept in the loop on whatever Katie and David found.

          “It’s a very dark chapter,” he said, “and most of it is missing. There’s nothing like an official history of the Irish Church. Maybe you can write it, Katie.”

         Katie glanced at Professor Mundt, who was smiling and said, “If anyone can, Father Porter, it will be Katie.  And David, of course.”
        Katie said, "I think that's better left to Father Porter."

       They parted and promised to keep in touch. Katie and David went back to her apartment to compare notes and speak about what was next.

         “Soon as I get all these notes into some kind of order,” she said, “I’ll go to Alan and try to pry an assignment out of him.”

         David laughed. “Like the professor said, if anyone can do it, you can.”

         Over the weekend Katie worked on her notes, collating David’s, to come up with a written proposal that would include an estimate of expenses. She knew she would have to argue to have David along on the assignment, even though Dobell was well aware of the ex-detective’s critical importance to the last three investigations.

         On Monday morning Katie went to the office and strode into Dobell’s office.

         “Well, don’t you look highly intent on convincing me of something,” he said. “Whaddaya got? Something big, I hope.”

         Katie had learned never to suggest that maybe hers was not the kind of story McClure’s usually did—her last two articles almost suffered that fate—so she said, “How does an unmarked grave on Catholic Church grounds in Dublin containing only female and infant bodies sound for a hook?”

         Dobell straightened up in his chair. “I’m listening,” he said.

         Now that Katie had her editor’s attention, she backtracked in as cogent a fashion as she could in telling Dobell about the sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, about which he confessed to know next to nothing.

         “Oh, it goes on on an unimaginable scale,” she said, citing figures from her interview with Sipe, “maybe even leading straight to the Vatican.”

         Dobell was now knitting his brow, his fingertips tapping together. “Go on.”

         Katie admitted such a story was probably too vast for her alone to cover; it would take a squad of investigative reporters and a huge commitment of time and money. The Times might launch such an investigation, but there would still have to be a pay-off at the end of the story. Exposing bad priests, nuns and Church hierarchy had to lead somewhere very specific, and Katie could tell Dobell wasn’t there yet.

         Katie burrowed in, telling Dobell about the Magdalene Laundries and leading up to the discovery of the mass grave.

         Dobell fidgeted in his chair. “It’s certainly a good, ghoulish story,” he said, with his editor’s nose for a good headline. “But you say it’s already been written about in the English, Irish and Canadian papers? Nothing in the Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe?”

         Katie said “no” three times, adding how the Globe had killed a story on religious pedophilia years before.

         “Look, Katie, I trust your instincts, but at the moment budgets are tight. This damn dot com bubble cut into a lot of media advertising, and this story would cost a great deal to do right.”

         Having already paid for the trip to see Sipe and having paid in the past for her trip to London on her last story, Katie felt slighted by the idea she would have to offer another carrot to Dobell. Yet she felt so strongly about the story that she said, “Look, Alan, if David and I—”

         “I knew David was going to come into this conversation at some point.”

         “If David and I pay our own way to Dublin,” she continued, “like we did to London and La Jolla,  and you like what we find, put me on assignment and pay for my expenses, and I’ll write a great story, okay?”

         Dobell hated this kind of arrangement.  With a freelancer on spec it was one thing, but for a lead investigative reporter he didn’t like to say no. He put up his hands and said, “Let me think about it, Katie.”

         “Think hard,” she said. “Call me mid-week?”

         “Lemme see.”


                  *                         *                         *


    Mid-week came and went, and Katie thought that by Friday she was due the respect of an answer from Dobell. Still, she didn’t want to bug her very busy editor, and Friday was a closing day, when everyone in the office worked until midnight to get the monthly magazine to bed.  Katie procrastinated until it was too late on Friday afternoon to call and disrupt the closing.

         But she didn’t have to.

         Her phone rang and it was Dobell. He didn’t even say her name.

         “Well, looks like you’d better fly to Dublin ASAP.”

         “What? Why?”

         “It just came across the AP wire. Two nuns from that Magdalene Laundry place turned up dead, and not in a nice way.”

         “What do you mean?” Katie grabbed her pen and notepad.

         “Whoever murdered them had a really bad temper. One of the nuns was strangled with her own rosary beads and the other one had a classroom wooden pointer driven through her heart.”

© 2019





Will A.I. Make Wine Writers Superfluous?

By John Mariani


        The task of most wine writers is to try not to say the same thing over and over to describe varietals that by their very nature all share the same flavors, albeit to different degrees. It’s hard to imagine that anyone actually reads the descriptions in Wine Spectator, Decanter or Wine Advocate of, say, two dozen Chenin Blancs that all use the same verbiage merely switched around, especially when most readers merely glance at the numerical ratings, which themselves will always hover around the same scores. This one gets a 92, this one a 91, this one a 90, on and on.
        As a wine writer myself, I struggle with this problem, but also try to avoid all those silly similes about how a wine tastes of “cigar box,” “Meyer lemons,” “horse urine” and so on, as wonderfully satirized by Evelyn Waugh in Brideshead Revisited (quoting two characters): 

… It is a little shy wine like a gazelle.” 
“Like a leprechaun.” 
“Dappled, in a tapestry meadow.” 
“Like flute by still water.” 
“… And this is a wise old wine.” 
“A prophet in a cave.”
“… And this is a necklace of pearls on a white neck.” 
“Like a swan.” 
“Like the last unicorn.”


         Instead I like to give the reader more of a sense of place and history about a winery, what the owners try to do and what methods—type of oak, filtering, yeast, alcohol level, aging, etc.—they put in their tech data sheets.  I never give numerical ratings.
      Having spent an arduous afternoon recently writing about California Chardonnays, I mentioned to my son, an avid wine drinker, that I try hard but often fail to make my descriptions much different from one another. With about two clicks of his iPhone and five seconds later, he showed me how Chatbot took my text and transformed it into ten variations—all of them sounding eerily like me. After recovering from the shock—I needed a good slurp of wine—I realized that A.I. is destined to mimic human writing and individual writers in ways we cannot yet fully comprehend.
      I don’t think that Shakespeare or James Joyce should be turning in their graves just yet (they already have to worry about monkeys tapping on typewriter keys), but the question is why do we need wine writers to drone on about the same varietals when Chatbot or other A.I. machinery could turn out more-than-acceptable prose that few people are going to read anyway. Here, for instance, are ten of the renderings Chatbot provided me within five seconds, all variations on what I actually wrote:

"In this Sonoma County Chardonnay, you'll find a beautiful blend of warmth from the region and the refreshing qualities of cooler areas. It boasts superb citric acidity, lacks any hint of caramel, and its oak is delicately toasted, offering a delightful edge. Pair it effortlessly with swordfish.""

“Discover the essence of Sonoma County in this Chardonnay, where warmth meets the crispness of cooler regions, sans any artificial elements. With its vibrant citric acidity, absence of caramel notes, and subtly toasted oak, it perfectly complements swordfish."

"This Sonoma County Chardonnay epitomizes the best of both worlds – the cozy warmth and the refreshing coolness – without any artificial enhancements. With its impeccable citric acidity, absence of caramel tones, and just the right touch of toasted oak, it's a flawless match for swordfish."

"Experience the pure essence of Sonoma County in this Chardonnay, where warmth and coolness harmonize effortlessly, devoid of any artificial influences. Its lively citric acidity, lack of caramel overtones, and subtly toasted oak make it an ideal pairing for swordfish."

"In this Sonoma County Chardonnay, you'll taste the perfect balance of warmth and coolness, untainted by any artificial additions. With its refreshing citric acidity, absence of caramel nuances, and subtly toasted oak, it's a superb accompaniment to swordfish."

"This Sonoma County Chardonnay captures the essence of its terroir, blending warmth with coolness naturally, without any artificial intervention. With its bright citric acidity, absence of caramel flavors, and gently toasted oak, it's an ideal match for swordfish."

"Indulge in the authentic flavors of Sonoma County with this Chardonnay, showcasing the harmonious fusion of warmth and coolness, free from any artificial enhancements. Its crisp citric acidity, lack of caramel influence, and subtly toasted oak create a perfect synergy with swordfish."

"Experience Sonoma County's terroir in every sip of this Chardonnay, where the interplay of warmth and coolness shines without artificial additives. Its lively citric acidity, absence of caramel hints, and delicately toasted oak offer an impeccable complement to swordfish."

"This Sonoma County Chardonnay embodies the true essence of its origin, marrying warmth and coolness seamlessly, without any artificial interference. With its zesty citric acidity, absence of caramel notes, and just a hint of toasted oak, it's an exquisite pairing for swordfish."

"Savor the authentic flavors of Sonoma County with this Chardonnay, crafted to showcase the natural harmony between warmth and coolness, untouched by artificial flavors. Its vibrant citric acidity, lack of caramel influences, and subtly toasted oak make it an ideal partner for swordfish."

      Fortunately, A.I. would have a tougher time capturing the prose I write for other articles that are more than mere descriptions of a wine. So, I think I have a few more years left in the game.



“I Baked the Bisquick Coffee Cake So You Don’t Have To” By Gabrielle Scelzo (March 29, 2024).



 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from

   The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books) is a  novella, and for anyone who loves dogs, Christmas, romance, inspiration, even the supernatural, I hope you'll find this to be a treasured  favorite. The  story concerns how, after a New England teacher, his wife and their two daughters adopt a stray puppy found in their barn in northern Maine, their lives seem full of promise. But when tragedy strikes, their wonderful dog Lazarus and the spirit of Christmas are the only things that may bring his master back from the edge of despair. 


“What a huge surprise turn this story took! I was completely stunned! I truly enjoyed this book and its message.” – Actress Ali MacGraw

“He had me at Page One. The amount of heart, human insight, soul searching, and deft literary strength that John Mariani pours into this airtight novella is vertigo-inducing. Perhaps ‘wow’ would be the best comment.” – James Dalessandro, author of Bohemian Heart and 1906.

“John Mariani’s Hound in Heaven starts with a well-painted portrayal of an American family, along with the requisite dog. A surprise event flips the action of the novel and captures us for a voyage leading to a hopeful and heart-warming message. A page turning, one sitting read, it’s the perfect antidote for the winter and promotion of holiday celebration.” – Ann Pearlman, author of The Christmas Cookie Club and A Gift for my Sister.

“John Mariani’s concise, achingly beautiful novella pulls a literary rabbit out of a hat – a mash-up of the cosmic and the intimate, the tragic and the heart-warming – a Christmas tale for all ages, and all faiths. Read it to your children, read it to yourself… but read it. Early and often. Highly recommended.” – Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Pinkerton’s War, The Sinking of The Eastland, and The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury.

“Amazing things happen when you open your heart to an animal. The Hound in Heaven delivers a powerful story of healing that is forged in the spiritual relationship between a man and his best friend. The book brings a message of hope that can enrich our images of family, love, and loss.” – Dr. Barbara Royal, author of The Royal Treatment.


The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani (Bloomsbury USA, $35)

Modesty forbids me to praise my own new book, but let me proudly say that it is an extensive revision of the 4th edition that appeared more than a decade ago, before locavores, molecular cuisine, modernist cuisine, the Food Network and so much more, now included. Word origins have been completely updated, as have per capita consumption and production stats. Most important, for the first time since publication in the 1980s, the book includes more than 100 biographies of Americans who have changed the way we cook, eat and drink -- from Fannie Farmer and Julia Child to Robert Mondavi and Thomas Keller.

"This book is amazing! It has entries for everything from `abalone' to `zwieback,' plus more than 500 recipes for classic American dishes and drinks."--Devra First, The Boston Globe.

"Much needed in any kitchen library."--Bon Appetit.

Now in Paperback, too--How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan)  has won top prize  from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  It is a rollicking history of the food culture of Italy and its ravenous embrace in the 21st century by the entire world. From ancient Rome to la dolce vita of post-war Italy, from Italian immigrant cooks to celebrity chefs, from pizzerias to high-class ristoranti, this chronicle of a culinary diaspora is as much about the world's changing tastes, prejudices,  and dietary fads as about our obsessions with culinary fashion and style.--John Mariani

"Eating Italian will never be the same after reading John Mariani's entertaining and savory gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it won over appetites worldwide. . . . This book is such a tasteful narrative that it will literally make you hungry for Italian food and arouse your appetite for gastronomical history."--Don Oldenburg, USA Today. 

"Italian restaurants--some good, some glitzy--far outnumber their French rivals.  Many of these establishments are zestfully described in How Italian Food Conquered the World, an entertaining and fact-filled chronicle by food-and-wine correspondent John F. Mariani."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal.

"Mariani admirably dishes out the story of Italy’s remarkable global ascent to virtual culinary hegemony....Like a chef gladly divulging a cherished family recipe, Mariani’s book reveals the secret sauce about how Italy’s cuisine put gusto in gusto!"--David Lincoln Ross,

"Equal parts history, sociology, gastronomy, and just plain fun, How Italian Food Conquered the World tells the captivating and delicious story of the (let's face it) everybody's favorite cuisine with clarity, verve and more than one surprise."--Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily

"A fantastic and fascinating read, covering everything from the influence of Venice's spice trade to the impact of Italian immigrants in America and the evolution of alta cucina. This book will serve as a terrific resource to anyone interested in the real story of Italian food."--Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS-TV's Ciao Italia.

"John Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their way into our hearts, minds, and stomachs.  It's a story of pleasure over pomp and taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union Square Cafe,  The Modern, and Maialino.



MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Publisher: John Mariani. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Gerry Dawes, Geoff Kalish. Contributing Photographer: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.


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