Book: Eat Smart in Sicily, (2008) by Joan Peterson and Marcella Croce
A GUEST POST by Jessica Voigts
People who love to learn will adore this travel guide. Eat Smart in Sicily is filled with history, culture, language, food, markets, recipes (!), photos and more. THIS is one of those books that make you instantly want to delve into more like it – fascinating, and eminently readable. I’ve learned so much about Sicily and its history and various cultural influences, and how they’ve mixed throughout history and can now be seen in the food in Sicily. This book is written by Joan Peterson, PhD, and co-authored by Marcella Croce, who lives in Palermo. The book chapters include the Cuisine of Sicily, Local Sicilian Food, Tastes of Sicily (recipes), Shopping in Sicily’s Food Markets, Resources, Helpful Phrases, Menu Guide, Foods and Flavors Guide, and Restaurant Recommendations. WOW!
I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with Joan about her book, her travel history, and all about food. Yes, I am now seriously planning a trip to Sicily, just because of this book! Here’s what Joan had to say…
Wandering Educators: Please tell us about your book, Eat Smart in Sicily: How to Decipher
the Menu, Know the Market Foods, & Embark on a Tasting Adventure.
Joan Peterson: I have answered this in the plural, i.e. about all our guides: The multi-chaptered EAT SMART guides focus on WHAT there is to eat at a foreign destination. They cover all aspects of a nation’s food: the history of its cuisine; the types of regional foods and dishes; traditional recipes, which are contributed by chefs and are included so readers can preview the tastes of the country before departure or enjoy the flavors again upon their return; phrases to use in the market and restaurant; resources to help locate hard-to-find ingredients for the recipes; shopping tips; a market glossary (Foods & Flavors Guide) AND a menu glossary (Menu Guide); as well as a cross-referenced index so searching for terms can be made in English as well.
Note that general guidebooks do provide information on WHERE to eat, offering a handful of restaurant suggestions in each location. I preferred to exclude this content since it was available, but more importantly, I omitted it because the information becomes dated rather quickly: restaurants come and go, and management and chefs undergo turnover. The fare at a once highly recommended restaurant can go downhill and without up-to-date information a traveler can be in for a surprise. And there’s always the consideration that recommendations can be rather subjective. What one reviewer thinks is top notch may be a dismal choice for another diner.
WE: What is your background/interest in Sicily?
JP: I am not Sicilian/Italian.
I was intrigued about Sicily because most people who visit mainland Italy don’t visit the delightful island of Sicily, and there isn’t as much written about the food of this region of Italy. So I decided I’d feature Sicily’s delicious cuisine in my next guidebook and hope to lure more travelers to the island. I’ll be covering the cuisine of Norway next.
To read the rest of the interview, please see Wandering Educators.