||A Review of: Italian Express: 150 Fast and Easy Family Favourites, Emily Richards
by Brian Fawcett
Wish: Market to Table is the product of lifestyle magazine. If Canadian Living generally targets suburban women in their mid-40s as its cultural demographic, then Wish seems to be aimed at working women about 10 years younger who are slightly better educated, well-heeled, and noticeably more corporate and urban. Unlike Richards's book, this one has been authored by a committee: the magazine's two food writers run point, with credits going to the home living editor and the editor-in-chief as, I suppose, director and producer.
The book is called a "food & entertaining guide", but it's actually more than that, and less. It follows the familiar-to-cookbooks seasonal framework, starting with spring and going through the four seasons before jumping into a section on desserts and then another on "20 minute suppers" that includes a recipe for osso bucco you're supposed to cook for six hours. As with Richards's book, you get the sense that it's trying to please a whole lot of people, except that they're all corporate executives who can't separate food from entertainment, and they're all wearing stiletto heels, driving Beamers and going to so many committee meetings and strategy sessions that they can't possibly have time to cook. Sounds like recipe for culinary disaster, doesn't it?
Here's the surprise: these women can cook, and their food has considerable range. They're quite a lot sharper about the quality of recipe ingredients than Richards, and the recipes are more sophisticated. It helps more than a little that the book is elegantly and imaginatively photographed, and makes you want to cook what they're offering. If you can ignore the muddle of corporate lifestyle modeling and posturing that ruins the format, there is some very good food to be had in these pages.