Book Review by Bob Lipinski

Over the years, I’ve read through, have owned, and reviewed hundreds of cookbooks on various cuisines. However, I’ve never read one as detailed as “Mà, What Are You Cooking?” written by Gianluca Rottura. Gianluca’s first book, “Wine Made Easy” (I have a copy) is a well-orchestrated guide to wine… plain and simple. His family also owns a wine store in Manhattan, “In Vino Veritas.” Both sides of his family have strong roots in Italy and are prominent in winemaking, producing olive oil, making cheese, and raising animals, and have been for decades.

Gianluca puts his heart and soul in this book and has called it “A love letter to his mother.”

This book is not a collection of recipes sometimes regurgitated from other cookbooks. These are authentic family recipes, some hundreds of years old, often handed down generation-to-generation. They are full of passion, romance, and stories of the recipe’s history. The amount of detail for each recipe is astounding. The recipes are mouth-watering, creative, and easy-to-make, with recommended wine pairings (mostly Italian).

What really sets this book apart from the rest is the sections on Italian food; it’s like an Italian pantry, pork store and dairy, all rolled up and set on a backdrop of 376 pages, weighing over 3 pounds! Gianluca, who is fluent in Italian, is a walking, talking encyclopedia of everything Italian: culture, history, lore, traditions, language, food, wine, and spirits. He provides facts, dispels myths, offers correct spelling, history and usage of ingredients and terms. The sections on meats, cheeses, olive oil, and pasta make you feel as if you’re in Italy attending a class taught by Gianluca.

What I love the most is the passion of Gianluca, which can be felt throughout his book. Italian food and wine are in his blood, not just in his DNA; he lives it, breathes it, embraces it, and talks about it in each chapter. He offers opinions (some strong) of the origins of food, ingredients, proper usage, cooking methods, and why certain ingredients should not be cooked or paired together.

To summarize… I love this book and so will you!

Bob Lipinski is a professional speaker and the author of 10 books on alcoholic beverages and food.

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