Stefani Manfredi

Book Review – New Pizza: A whole new era for the world’s favourite food by Stefano Manfredi.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Murdoch Books for providing me with a free paper copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Oh look, me reviewing another cook book – surprise! What can I say, I have a bit of a cook book habit and always feel I have room for just one more… or maybe it’s if I own enough of them I can justify getting a bigger house? 😉

But, enough silliness and down to business. I found this book very interesting as it wasn’t just a cook book about pizza. It was almost a love story retelling the history of pizza and the best ingredients to do this dish justice… and then introducing the characters (the different chefs) and allowing them to retell the story with their own take on pizza today. We then got into some of Mr Manfredi’s recipes too.

Yes, okay, I can be a little too arty farty at times but hey, I feel the description is apt due to the stories that come with each of the initial recipes and sometimes each ingredient. This isn’t just a cook book, it’s a book of passion shared… and that passion just happens to be about how to cook a great pizza!

But if all you want is just a good cook book and advice on how to perfect your pizza making skills, don’t be put off by my above description! As ‘New Pizza’ does this too! There are very in depth, detailed sections on different doughs and how to make them, how to shape the doughs, etc.

And I must emphasise the ‘in depth’ as making the perfect dough in ‘New Pizza’ takes on a scientific element of equations and measurements that I initially found quite daunting – and I’ve been cooking for decades! But I then looked at it from a different angle and decided it just added to the desire of Mr Manfredi to share his passion for the perfect pizza. He could have kept his perfect dough equations to himself, but instead he is teaching them to the reader so that they too can experience pizza at its best. True gentlemen and true artist!

Then we go into the specifics of pizza itself – it’s not all just round, flat tomato and cheese! There are the Pizza Rosa – red pizza (tomato base), Pizza Bianca – white pizza (olive oil base), the Roman pizza – rectangular, fried, sweet… oh so many choices and not enough time to make them all! 😀

Courtesy of ‘New Pizza’ by Stefano Manfredi.

And if, like me, you are wheat free, there is even a good spelt pizza dough recipe. Though, if you have intolerances to gluten, dairy, allium or seafood… yeah, I did find the book lacking a little in that department for me. But that is my own problem and no fault of ‘New Pizza’. Some people are blessed with being able to eat everything – they will love this book. Me? Well… Next time I feel like falling off the wagon, I think I will use ‘New Pizza’ as my guide. I will “die” happy. 😀

Please note – I probably won’t ACTUALLY die, simply have to live with all the issues I get from eating foods I know my body can’t handle. 😉

As to the editing and layout of ‘New Pizza’ it is good. I, personally, found the book a little too chunky and cumbersome in the kitchen and it was too big for my cook book stand and looked more like a coffee table book that had gotten lost in my kitchen… but again, that is just me.

Modern cooks will appreciate the fact there is not only step by step picture instructions for the important things like how to shape the dough, but also a picture of each of the finished pizza to help entice you into wanting to make it. The pictures are amazing! There MAY be drool marks in my copy.

There were, however, a couple of typos scattered throughout the book. Usually I would say – no biggie, they will pick them up in the final edit. But I say that with eBooks and this was a paper one. I have let Murdoch books know of the issues and they did take it very seriously – they are professionals after all. What I do feel may have happened is a bit of a language hiccup? This is just a guess as I am in no way fluent in Italian… but as the majority of typos were ‘am’ being used instead of ‘an’… I am wondering if they are as interchangeable as ‘im’ and ‘in’ in German? Yeah, I’m not that fluent in German either and this is all one big guess.

Too be honest, if you skim the words, you probably won’t even notice! So don’t mind me! It does not, in any way, detract from the information ‘New Pizza’ is giving the reader. I am just one of those perfectionist who is perfectly imperfect… so will spot a typo in someone else’s work and then be blind to several clangers I make myself! 😀

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, but I would advise them that ‘New Pizza’ is for those who truly want to learn exactly what a pizza is and how to truly make it into more than just a take away meal. I am talking friends who have wood fire pizza ovens in their backyards and the like – you know they are serious about pizza and this would definitely be a book they should buy.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Now, I will remind you that I was sent a paper version of this book already and so that can make this section tough to answer, as it’s hard to ask if I would buy it when I already own it… But I will say that if I was to see it in the shops I probably wouldn’t buy it. Not because it is a terrible book, simply because I do not feel I could do it justice as a cook. As in, I don’t think I would really use it that often.

But this is due to my food intolerances and allergies making pizza not the best food for me. I can’t eat wheat, dairy, seafood, allium… you know? All the stuff that makes pizza GOOD!

Don’t get me wrong, now that I have a copy I am determined to try and learn how to make that perfect pizza dough from those in depth equations – I have a thing for equations – and my kids can eat most of that stuff… so, yeah, while I own it I will try and do ‘New Pizza’ justice, but I feel I am just not the right person to honour the passion and recipes within its pages.

 

In summary: A fantastic insight and lessons into how to make pizza the old and new ways.

Until next time,

Janis.