Though the recipe range is vast, it must be said that American readers, anxious to cook this authentic fare, will encounter problems. Translating a cookbook from one language to another requires cultural recasting as well as word substitution, and in this the book's editors have been lax. The problems include non-idiomatic usages, for example, calling for "pans" when "pots" is needed; awkward conversions from the metric system, resulting in requirements like eleven ounces of zite; and the inclusion of ingredients like cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage), tope (a Mediterranean fish), and pancetta copatta (ham-stuffed pancetta) that are unavailable here and for which no alternatives are suggested. In addition, the recipes themselves are often insufficiently specific or detailed--even seasoned bakers will pause before cake recipes that don't specify pan size--and can also lack yields. Space considerations have also meant printing recipes in single, one-column paragraphs, which can make place-finding while cooking difficult, and there are typos and other goofs (one recipe for four specifies six cups of sliced scallions; another requires that a marinade be "stirred frequently for five to twelve hours").
All this said, many cooks--casual and serious alike--as well as cookbook collectors, will want The Silver Spoon. It's an essential document of the Italian table and as such a classic. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a complete cookbook library without the book--a welcome evocation of a much-beloved repertoire by those who know it best. --Arthur Boehm