Saturday, January 9, 2010

Book Review - Never Trust a Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital by Eric Dregni

Never Trust a Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital
Author: Eric Dregni
Year: 2009
Page: 240
Genre: Non-fiction: Travel, Memoir

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Maybe
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? Modena, Italy
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
I simply want to live in the place with the best food in the world. This dream led Eric Dregni to Italy, first to Milan and eventually to a small, fog-covered town to the north: Modena, the birthplace of balsamic vinegar, Ferrari, and Luciano Pavarotti. Never Trust a Thin Cook is a classic American abroad tale, brimming with adventures both expected and unexpected, awkward social moments, and most important, very good food.

First Sentence:
I simply want to live in the place with the best food in the world.

Why did I pick this book?
I was browsing the New Books on the library online catalog. The title caught my attention and I love food and would love to go to Italy one day.

My thoughts:
  • It was a fun read, and I felt I learned more about the Italian culture, food (especially pigs and balsamic vinegar), people, superstitions, festivals, driving behavior, rivalry between small towns, government / bureaucracy after this book. It was also interesting to read about Italian's perception of American

  • Each chapter is on a particular topic so it is a pretty easy read since each chapter is fairly short. By the same token though, it is not a book I stayed up late for because I didn't have the urge to keep reading to find out what happened next

  • I want to visit Italy! I don't know if I'd be ready to live there for 2 years like Eric did with his girlfriend Katy - especially since I don't know any Italian. But the food... oh the food...

  • I rated the 3.5 stars - it's pretty rare for me to give a book 5 stars. Books with 4 stars mean I am quite inspired - I felt this book is better than okay (3 stars) but not quite "great!" (4 stars) compared to others I have read

Books similar to this book that I like:
  • I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany by Mark Greenside 
  • The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City by David Lebovitz

Have you read this book? 
If you have, I would love to hear what you think!
I'll link your review here if you wish!

100+ Reading
Memorable Memoir


  1. What an adorable title and cover. It sounds fun. Thanks for the review.

  2. @Juju - I love the title, and stupid me didn't realize it's "Italy" on the cover until later! But I like its subtlety!

  3. I've visited Rome and Florence and long to see the rest of Italy and taste the variety of foods. This sounds like another good book to read for "a ataste of Italy." Glad you liked my review of the travel memoir, The youngest Son: Memoirs of the Homeland. The book describes many delicious snacks and foods, especially the different ways to prepare bruschetta.

  4. @Book Dilettante - I wish I get to go to Rome and Florence some day! Sounds like I need to read The Youngest Son - I love to read about food :)Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for letting me know about your review of this book. This sounds like a great read - I just put it on my TBR list!

  6. @Janna - you are welcome! Not a must-read, but fun to read if you have time :)