Beyond The Pasta
By: Mark Leslie
Summer is right around the corner. Many people take this season to travel to places far or near. If you're like me, who can't afford to travel, you like to read books of great places. Not only of great places, but the life lived far from my own, the people, the food, and the adventures. Well, I have a suggestion for you summer "travel" reading.
Beyond The Pasta is the journal of Mark Leslie's 28 day stay with a family in Italy. He enrolled in a full immersion program where he lives with a family and they teach him cooking and language. In his adventure, you will learn the Grandmothers (Nonna) are the professors of cooking and the Mothers are the Professors of language. Not only that, Mark includes recipes for many of the Italian dishes he helps Nonna make.
Readers live and learn of Italian life as Mark does- often through trial and error. Some things are done differently between our two countries, and I enjoyed reading how. Navigating grocery stores is a rather eye opening experience. While in the USA, the plastic bags your groceries go in are free, in Italy they are not. Many Nonnas don't buy them since they already have plenty from past trips. Instead they buy their groceries leaving everything lose in the cart and bag them when they get to their cars. The whole cart system is different, as well. In Italy, you pay to use the cart, but get your money back when you return the cart properly. Poor Mark learned this lesson the hard way.
For lovers of Italy, Italian food, and Italian life in general, this book may be a great book. I love reading about how Italians live and interact with one another. I love the closeness of family and friends. You get a lot of that within the pages of Beyond The Pasta. Enjoy!