If you have ever dreamed of spending a summer in Italy, living and eating with a local family, learning the language, then Mark Leslie's book Beyond the Pasta
will be a pure wish-fulfillment read for you. And now you can get even closer, with his iPad app, which brings you recipes, narrative, and video from right inside Nonna's kitchen!
Leslie is a food writer and theatre professional. (We featured his stunningly beautiful kitchen here
.) He spent a summer in Italy with a family presided over by "Nonna," (grandma
, in Italian) a wicked good cook and now his cooking mentor. His lovely and lively memoir, Beyond the Pasta
, tells of falling in love with the food and culture of Italy, but also of the more personal relationship he developed with Nonna and her family.
• Find the book: Beyond The Pasta; Recipes, Language and Life with an Italian Family, $24.82 at Amazon
• Visit Mark's blog: Beyond the Pasta Blog
The book is a fun read, but I am enjoying his iPad app even more right now. He developed an app with a lot of video commentary, filmed in his own kitchen, and with many recipes he learned in Italy. The real highlight, though, are the video clips with Nonna herself. Watch a real Italian grandmother roll out pasta, and chatter with Mark in Italian — these clips are very funny and a real delight to watch.
If you love the sights, sounds, and tastes of Italy, this is a fun app to cook with, and to cook through.
• Find it: Beyond the Pasta app for iPhone and iPad. $2.99 at iTunes.
It is a lot of fun, although my only request is: More videos of Nonna, please!
Related: No Time To Cook? Try Real Simple's New iPad App
(Images: Mark Leslie/Beyond the Pasta)