Cucina Povera by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Cucina Povera by Pamela Sheldon JohnsCucina Povera by Pamela Sheldon Johns pays homage to the peasant cuisine of Tuscany, and it’s a treat for all your senses.

The gorgeous photos of Andrea Wyner lure you in from the cover on through; they are bursting with color and emotion, especially those of the older women to whom so much of the information in the book is credited.

The women’s voices echo throughout the prose of Johns, which provides an impressive amount of background and history on Tuscan peasant culture in the first 40 pages of the book. The reader gets an excellent sense of the origins of la cucina povera and why it still holds such a special place in the hearts and homes of many Tuscans.

The recipes come straight from these women’s country kitchens, and you can just smell the schiacciata all’uva (grape focaccia) baking in the oven, feel your teeth sink into i gnudi (spinach and ricotta dumplings in tomato sauce), and taste the cinghiale e carciofi in umido (wild boar and artichokces) as it melts on your tongue. With over 60 recipes in all, Cucina Povera covers everything from appetizers through desserts, offering clear step-by-step instructions for even beginner cooks.

The book itself is an excellent size, compact but still thick (nearly 200 pages) and just packed full of information. The pages are hearty with a distressed feel and slightly jagged edges, perfectly reflecting the nature of cucina povera itself. Even if I didn’t enjoy the content of this book (which I do), I’d still love to hold it and flip through. It just *feels* nice in your hands, and for all these reasons, I give it:

5 espresso cups out of five!Five espresso cups out of five!

This book is a masterpiece on Tuscan peasant cuisine and would make a wonderful gift to anyone interested in cooking, Italian regional cuisine, or Tuscany. Simply fabulous.


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5 Beans of Wisdom to “Cucina Povera by Pamela Sheldon Johns”
  1. Cathy

    Sounds lovely – I think I should put it on my Christmas wish list…

    michelle Reply:

    I hope you’ve been good this year, Cathy! 😉

  2. 09.27.2011

    I am now dreaming of cinghiale stews and ribollita…umm. Going on the Christmas list. Thanks Michelle.

    michelle Reply:

    My pleasure, John! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake