En route from Vienna to Avignon a few years back, I stopped in Venice for a few days. Unfortunately, it was a hot summer day and the city was teeming with tourists. I chose to stay at a hostel in Mestre to stay within my student budget, so I didn’t have much of a chance to visit this unique city. I explored the many little alleyways, canals and colorful buildings, but aside from some excellent gelato, I didn’t get to try much of the food.
Luckily, I had the foresight to pick up Sally Spector’s delightful book Venice and Food. Part history book, part cookbook, part travel guide, the book features hand-sketched drawings of Venetian bridges, plazas and symbols, along with historical tidbits.
Spector takes you through the history of each of Venice’s important ingredients, from riso (the word originates from the Greek word Oryzo – who knew?) to aglio to prezzemolo (parsley). She includes both the Italian words for the dishes and ingredients, as well as words from the local Venetian dialect.
The recipes are simple and divine. From Risi e Bisi, the local favorite (rise and peas) to biscotti, this is one gorgeous book. I can’t wait to go back to Venice and try out all of the foods she discusses. And next time, I’ll go anytime but the summer months to avoid the tourist craziness!