Whenever I open this book, I not only dream of pasta, I dream of being at Bramasole, talking about food and writing with the Mayes.
Above, you can see Bramasole peeking through the trees.
Since this is an epic review, I had to divide it into two parts, so I'll do a complete summary next week. But I can't tamp down my excitement. Let me just say that all 226 pages are filled with Mayes' poetic images and achingly beautiful photography by Steven Rothfeld.
The recipes celebrate Tuscan cuisine, but you don't have to be in Italy to cook them. For instance, homemade tomato sauce calls for canned, whole tomatoes.
Francis writes about secret places, antiques, Tuscan design--and food, of course. She is a true foodie. But I wouldn't expect anything less from her since she is a native Southerner.
I pulled out my Italian china, and guess what? The dinner plate matched every photograph in the book.
Each time I read Frances' first book, Under the Tuscan Sun, or this one, Bringing Tuscany Home, I feel cozy and cheerful. Francis is a poet, and her words capture the bright slant of sun, the smell of rosemary, and the feel of grainy, warm soil as she plants a garden.
Since Francis lives in California part-time, she wrote this book as a way of infusing Tuscany in San Francisco--or wherever she happens to find herself. She shows us how "place" isn't entirely geographical but a state of mind.
I'm joining Jain in her inaugural "Food for Thought," which celebrates the written word and food (my two favorite things other than Mister). Everyone is invited to join the party. To check out this visual treat, visit Jain at http://onceinabluemooniris.blogspot.com/2010/01/food-for-thought-kick-off.html .
5 Stars *****
Bringing Tuscany Home by Francis Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun. Photography by Steven Rothfeld. Broadway Books, 2004; 225 pages. Available at fine bookstores everywhere. To find an "indy" near you, visit: