The Italian Cuisine I Love – Jules Bond (1977)

Move over Ryan Gosling there’s a new man in my life.

I’m totally in love  with Jules J. Bond, the author of  The Italian Cuisine I Love.   For anyone (like me) who had never heard of Jules J. Bond before he was a:

“Widely travelled newspaper correspondent, author of cookbooks, food columnist, lecturer and well-known in gourmet circles.  He is a…Officer Commandeur of the Confrérie du Tastevin, Commandeur de Bordeaux, Member of the Wine and Food Society, the Escoffier Society and of the prestigious Club des vingt-six”

During the war he served as part of the Psychological Warfare Detachment which could make him a man who stared at goats.  Or a spy….J Bond?  Coincidence? I prefer to think not.

How suave can one man be?    Imagine being a guest at one of his dinner parties.  There would be great food, fantastic wine.   I bet he not only had a story or two to tell but that he also told them in a delightfully witty and urbane  manner.   And, should assassins  burst in and take you hostage during dinner, he would  have taken them down using nothing but an egg beater.  That is my type of man!

This is a cracker of  a cookbook too.  I picked it up for 50 cents at my local charity shop.  It contains over a hundred recipes so the bang for buck ratio is amazing.  The recipes themselves are a solid mix of Italian dishes from antipasto to dessert, ranging through soups, pasta, pizza, various meats and vegetables.  There is nothing odd about any of them – no odd uses of pineapple, no MSG  It’s almost disappointing.

There is a quirky side to The Italian Cuisine I Love and that is in the wonderful photos.  I noticed that a large number of these featured at least one bottle of wine and was beginning to thing that maybe Jules J. had a bit of a problem with the booze.  No, the photos were just supplied by the wine maker. And they are great photos too.  The Ruffino wine Company went to some trouble here.  Look at the trinket box in the photo for the Spring lamb, the  inexplicable use of corn in the picture of the rolled chicken breast, the bottle of wine somewhat coyly peeking out from behind an apple in the spaghetti carbonara picture.  This isn’t just advertising.  It’s art!

Other photos within the book, a selection of which are featured below, were supplied by the National Macaroni Institute.  Yes.  There was a National Macaroni Institute.  Who knew?  But again these are great photos.  I particularly love the one on the right.  That red soup tureen is awesome.  I’m searching for that and the matching bowls on ebay as we speak!  I’m not so sure about the lady with the tiny head in the picture of the spaghetti with veal and green peppers but, hey, at least they’ve tried.

The same can’t be said about the photo supplied by the Italian Tourist Office which is featured both on the back cover of, and within, the book entitled “Bowl of Fruit.”  Now, in all fairness The Italian Cuisine I Love does contain a recipe called “Fresh Fruit Bowl” but the contents of the recipe and this  photo bear little (or no)  resemblance to each other.  It’s just a  random photo of fruit.  I don’t know what the Italian Tourist office were thinking.   Why did they even have a photo of a bowl of fruit?  What kind of marketing strategy is that?  “Come to Italy.  We have apples.”  Seriously?  Is that the best you could do Italian Tourist office?

To add insult to injury, the fruit in the photo is not even in a bowl.  It’s in a basket.  Poor form, Italian Tourist Office.  Lift your game.

The Italian Cuisine I Love is one  of a series of books written by Jules J. Bond.  The series also included the Chinese, French, Hungarian, Jewish, Mid-Eastern, Mexican, Spanish and Viennese cuisines that JJB loved.  He was kind of slutty in his food loving.

Unfortunately for me Jules J.  passed away in 1993,  so I guess you can stop your sobbing, Gosling, you’re still top of the list.  But  until I found out that Jules J.  was no more (and even if he was, he’d be 97), he was giving you a run your for money.  Take heed.  Don’t be the Italian Tourist Office Ryan, be the National Macaroni Institute.

Just in case you were wondering.  The J stands for Jerome.

In the next few posts I’ll be cooking some of  the Italian food JJB loved…not including a bowl of fruit.


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