Wednesday, December 10, 2008 Bocca

A few years ago, the New York Times featured an article called "Save these Books!" where chefs and food writers talked about their favorite out-of-print cookbooks. While many of the books listed sounded vaguely familiar, Mario Batali's pick, Umbria in Bocca, was new to me. Batali wrote that Umbria was just one title in a series of books published in the 1970s all with "in Bocca" in the title, and all featuring a different city or region.

I made it a point to make sure the Library had every book listed in that Times article*, and was especially eager to find our own copies of the "in Bocca" series. From what I can tell, the Library has them all. Two of the books, sadly, have been rebound and do not contain the stunning cover art. The others are all preserved in their original binding, and are safely kept in specialized book boxes in the stacks. The recipes are in both English and Italian, and have wonderful illustrations throughout. But as Nach Waxman pointed out a few weeks ago (also in the New York Times), these books are extremely fragile (the covers are cardboard), so care is required to make them last.

*The Library does have every book mentioned in that article, except for one: The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook by Howard Mitcham, which was nominated by Anthony Bourdain. Needless to say, I'm hunting it down.


Marthe said...

I am happy to own Toscana and
Piemonte in Bocca.
These are wonderful books, and
the English translations are
very funny. (Strips Soup, Spare

john kelsey said...

hello, i have also been looking for a copy of the Howard Mitcham book. there are some for sale on but most are priced too high. i'm in new orleans and have recently been using his "creole gumbo & all that jazz" book which can easily be found on the net at good prices. it has lots of simple but elegant recipes for oysters, shrimp, fish and gulf coast seafood items. it also has woodcut prints by the author as illustrations. good luck. John Kelsey

Anonymous said...

I am proud to own Piemonte in Bocca, Roma in Bocca and Sicilia e le Isole in Bocca....I absolutely love them. They are my favorite cookbooks.

ambradambra said...

I own Friuli & Trieste in Bocca and just found out how collectible it is. I'll guard it with my life now.