When you heard about the Sopranos Family Cookbook did you think it was just a gimmick -- that the recipes were either too difficult or not real recipes for real Italian cooking? FUHGEDDABOUDIT!
Or did you think it would be merely a recipe book with little or nothing of interest to Sopranos fans, a boring book of recipes? GEDOUDDAHEAYH!!!
The Sopranos Family Cookbook is a great concept -- such a masterful idea that you almost wonder why they didn't think of it before (actually they did, but only this year moved to "merchandising".). It's a WONDERFUL stand-alone cook-book, that includes some recipes that are simple enough for someone like me who feels like Wolfgang Puck after pouring reheated Ragu on pasta. There are BOTH simple and ornate authentic Italian recipes galore, carefully spelled out -- even instructions on the BEST way to cut garlic (it gives you the three ways, depending on the strength of the taste you want and tells you to avoid garlic presses and garlic powder which is "mayonnaiser behavior.").Tony's chef friend, Artie Bucco, who supposedly compiled the book, also gives various tips on things such as choosing olive oil and wines.
Photo-illustrated "interviews" with key cast characters deliciously season this book and they'll be a (non-homicidal) scream for Sopranos fans. In other words, you truly get TWO BOOKS in and one and can buy (or with great confidence GIFT) this book as a functional cookbook (for a beginner cook or an experienced cook) or as another one of the quickly emerging great books on what some call TV's greatest show (the other GREAT new book is David Chase's book of Sopranos scripts from the first three seasons, also available on Amazon.com).
It's impossible to list all my favorite recipes here, but JUST a few include: Marinara Sauce, Bistecca Piaaziola, Giambotta (vegetable stew), Janice Soprano's Vegetarian Baked Ziti, Standing Rib Roast (the one I want to perfect), Baked Ziti with little meatballs, Baked Chicken with Potatotes, Lemon and Oregano, Baked Chicken Cacciatore, home-de Ah Beetz (pizza), Ceasar Salad, my parent's favorite Spaghetti Puttanesca...and many more.
Sopranos fans (and cooks who want to also enjoy READING a cook book) will love the interviews with Sopranos characters. My favorite is with Tony's imported-from-Italy henchman Furio Giunta who says he doesn't like the food in America: "First, you use too much sauce on your spaghetti. Very bad. Too soupy. Can't taste the pasta, the semolina...They you do something really stupid. You drink cappuccino after dinner!"
And then there is Janice Soprano; "I grew up in a typical Italian-American family of that era and milieu...I was in charge of setting the table, given the artistic touch that I, alone among my siblings, possess...My mother Livia Pollio Soprano was a typical stay-at-home-mom..."
Just remember: one day you may be in your kitchen, nearly whacked by culinary disaster, pondering a too-difficult or too-simplistic cookbook, echoing the same exact words as Tony Soprano in the final scene of the episode Pine Barrens: "Why does everything have to be so hard? I'm not sayin' I'm perfect, but I do the right...thing for my family. Doesn't that count for anything?"
If your family hates your meal it won't. The Sopranos Family Cookbook makes it easy, authentic...and FUN. Trust me...or else...