I read about this book on someone else's blog (spoiler warning: she tells more about the books contents than I will). I have no idea how I even found and started reading that blog, but I thoroughly enjoy it. The writer, Tea, spins lovely tales, takes fantastic photos, and from what I can tell makes incredibly delicious and complicated homemade food. It's always a treat to see a post of hers pop up in my Google Reader.
Well, we all know how much I can't resist a good memoir, so when I heard about this one I went straight to my library('s web site) to check it out. Since it's TV Turn-off Week this week, I have been reading in the evenings, and I plowed through this book in only a couple days (Michael Pollan was, through no fault of his own, bumming me out). I haven't read the recipes in the back yet, but I do plan to make some homemade ravioli at some point, if for no other reason than to heal The Professor's relationship with this fine foodstuff. Apparently as a child, he was served some canned cafeteria ravioli in school, and since the rule at home was Clean Your Plate, he just sat there crying because they were so disgusting he couldn't force himself to eat them, until a kind teacher released him from ravioli jail and let him dump the vile things in the trash.
I'm planning to use mom's pasta machine (I know my limits), and heck, maybe even the KitchenAid again. Reading about food is hungry-making, though, and last night I finally couldn't stand it anymore, and we went out for dinner to a newly opened Japanese restaurant a few blocks from our house because the author mentioned gyoza as a ravioli-like item from a non-Italian cuisine. These were interesting gyoza, I think they contained either fish or chicken, not the beef I'd been expecting, but that was fine. I was all about the pasta wrapper anyhow.
About the book: I enjoyed it. Well written, compelling, and informative. I learned a lot I didn't know about ravioli and cooking traditions in general, I was drawn in by the family history aspects of the book, and I sincerely cared whether she'd achieve her goal of finding the lost recipes and recreating them successfully. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in food and culinary tradition (ahem, Kelly, Anne, Claudia). But I would caution you to plan to have some delicious meals ready to go because while you are reading, you are going to get hungry.