The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook

Author Mary Capone teaches us fine classic Italian dishes from her roots in the Italian Countryside.
Upon reading The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook, I felt a sense of warmth from the author as she opened her heart and the doors to her “world”—her past, her family, and her heritage. Mary grew up in New York in the kitchen and around an Italian table with family meals being the excitement of the day. Platters of food adorned the table, and laughter and love, which was in every dish.

Mary’s travels in Europe after college brought her to her roots, her love—Italy. Crossing the border she knew instantly she was at home. When she returned to her father’s village, she was taught the secrets of simple Southern Italian cuisine, which she brought back to the States, opening “Marie’s Crêpes”—European crêpes made to order.

Mary started having signs of an auto-immune disease shared by her grandmother, who eventually died from the disease. Mary was told it was genetic and nothing could be done. She spent years searching for solutions. As with many celiacs, she finally diagnosed herself, had the blood test performed, and it was confirmed. She had celiac disease. She began to regain her health as she began eating gluten-free.

The gluten-rich diet of her ancestors was her new nemesis. Rather than looking at all she must avoid, she yearned for recreating those lovely dishes in a cuisine she could eat—one by one. The transformation evolved in her own kitchen as she created healthy gluten-free alternatives.

In 2005, with a recipe book full of one-of-a-kind dishes exuding the flavor, aroma, and love of Italian food, Mary opened the Wheat-Free Gourmet Cooking School in Boulder, Colorado. The spirit and joy in her cooking school is what inspired her to share her recipes with the gluten-free community.

Each of Mary’s recipes has a concise yet personal prelude setting a lovely scene for the forthcoming dish. Each story reflects on the pleasure and love she imparts now to the reader. Not only is this a cookbook you’ll treasure and have on your shelves to use for years to come, it is a story, a life story Mary shares openly. Her personality shines through—a peaceful, artistic culinary soul. I for one feel as if I made a friend, by owning this book alone.

The dishes in The Gluten-free Italian Cookbook are nutritious, earthy, truly Italian, and bursting with flavor. I get a sense of the aromas just reading the recipes. Each one offers a dairy-free version simply explained and well-tested. She has vegetarian options as well. Many beautiful photographs accompany the book as well as a hint of family, scattered amongst the pages, letting the reader in on her family album.

This is a cookbook devoted primarily to gluten-free Italian meal options, not just desserts.  With dishes such as Eggplant Caponata (Caponata di Melanzane), mushrooms and Olive Tapenade Crostini, Aunt Caramel’s Baked Stuffed Artichokes (Carciofi con Pane e Salsiccia), Our Daily Bread, Seafood Pizza and Mary’s Traditional Dairy-Free Ricotta, one is never at a loss for a culinary adventure resulting in an aromatic and love-filled meal—from Mary’s heart to yours.

This is one of the most pleasurable “reading” cookbooks I have had the opportunity to have, read, and own. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone looking for a healthy alternative to cooking—simple gluten-free. “Mangiare bene, bere bene e’ vivere bene.” To eat well, to drink well, is to live well. This is how Mary likes to live her life, and shares a part of that living through this cookbook.

I give this book a thumbs up, Mary is a delight and it is HIGHLY recommended by me!

Article Courtesy:  Tina Turbin

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