Eat, Eat, Eat. It’s Sicily.

Destination: Sicily

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…

Things To Do

Wandering EducatorsPlease 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.


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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

6 thoughts on “Eat, Eat, Eat. It’s Sicily.

  1. I have spent a bit of time in Tucson and I DO like it. But Sicily is a whole ‘nother ballgame. When you get there, don’t miss the temple and amphitheater (I can’t imagine paying attention to a play there with the amazing view) at Segesta, which along with Erice is a reasonable daytrip from Trapani, a fascinating town partly because it is NOT geared to American tourists. Had the best pizza of my life there. Anywhere in Sicily (or anywhere else) look on the window of a restaurant for the Slow Food snail symbol. Schmooze with the boss. You will get a memorable meal, guaranteed.

    1. Hi Susan: I first went to Greece–beginning my long love affair with that country–because I was a theater major and was fascinated that the theaters were located in such gorgeous places that no one could possible pay attention to the play. Of course they were religious events rather than entertainment as we think of it….still.
      I do appreciate your tips for Sicily and I so want to go there.

  2. I’ve already mentioned that my fantasy island is in sight (and commuting and eating distance) of Sicily, specifically Erice, my favorite bit of my favorite island. Erice is a medieval fortress town on top of what we would call a high mesa here in the states. It can snow in Erice while at the base folks are picking citrus. I can’t look, let alone take the wheel, during the drive up. The town looks like the setting for a fairy tale and has a fairy-tale view, yet nothing here is as it appears. There is a satellite tracking station and the town’s main industry is holding cutting edge scienctific conferences. The world’s latest magic.

    1. Susan: You would like Tucson. We can have snow on the ski slope at Mt. Lemmon and be barbecuing down in the valley. But Sicily is certainly more exotic and is definitely on my travel list. And I hope our guest author has a great time in Scotland, where she has been while I was roaming around France!

  3. I have always wanted to visit Sicily! Thanks for sharing Peterson’s “Eat Smart in Sicily” I love tasting the local cuisine of the places I travel to. Thanks! -r

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