Monday, August 4, 2014

Our August/September 2014 Selection: A Thousand Days in Venice


A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance was one of those paperback novels that you pick up on those ubiquitous "Summer Reading" tables at the bookstore.  Call these "beach reads" or "fun reads," I typically don't expect a whole lot from this genre.   That being said, this "Summer Reading" table is where I was first introduced to Marlena di Blasi.

Di Blasi, a former chef from St. Louis, chronicles a solo trip to Venice, a trip in which she falls in love with the "The Floating City" and with a Venetian named Fernando.  She speaks a little bit of Italian.  He speaks less English. A Thousand Days follows her spontaneous decision to live life and share her heart with Fernando (“the stranger”),  immersing herself in the food, culture and people of Italy.  It is a love story between a man, a woman and a truly beautiful city.  Di Blasi also includes some authentic recipes such as Prugne Addormentate (Sleeping Pears), Pappa al Pomodoro, and Porcini Brasati con Moscato (Wild Mushrooms Braised in Late-Harvest Wine) to name a few.  In this very romantic memoir, she describes their exploration of the city, their developing romance, and the realization that they have both found their soul-mates.

I soon became an über fan.  A Thousand Days in Venice led me to the sequel, A Thousand Days in Tuscany, which led me to The Lady in the Palazzo, then to That Summer in Sicily, and finally Antonia and her Daughters.   (All of these books follow Marlena and Ferdinand as they explore Italy together.) She is also the author of two regional cookbooks:  Regional Foods of Northern Italy (a James Beard Foundation Award finalist) and Regional Foods of Southern Italy.

I am sure that re-reading A Thousand Days in Venice will spark me to pick up di Blasi's other books: Dolce e Salata (a book that falls between their adventures in Venice and Tuscany) and Amandine: A Novel.  

Di Blasi and Ferdinand currently reside in Orvieto, Italy.

Submissions for this round of CTB are due September 30, 2014.  Anyone can join in the Cook the Books fun by reading and blogging about the book and cooking up a dish inspired by its contents. Just contact me when your entry post is up by commenting on this post and/or sending me an email at

If you're new to Cook the Books, check out our About and Guidelines pages or leave a question in the comments here.   Please also check out some of the previous Round-Ups for examples of members' posts.


Debra (Eliot's Eats)

Postscript: I am also über excited to be hosting my first CTB selection as an official co-host, so I hope you all enjoy this selection and get inspired to make something romantic, decadent, and delicious.  


A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

Book is downloaded and ready to go as soon as I finish my current reading selection... Wooooohooooo...thanks for hosting

Alicia Foodycat said...

Started it yesterday and loving it so far - wish she'd stop fussing with her hair though!

Simona Carini said...

Thank you for the nice intro, Debra. The book is on its way for me.

Camilla M. Mann said...

I'll have my post in a couple of days! Read the book in weekend!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am looking forward to reading it Debra--it does sound like the perfect late summer book to escape into. ;-)

Debra Eliotseats said...

Camilla, you are always first! Alica---she is a bit fussy with her hair and wardrobe! :) Hope everyone finds some inspiration!

Claudia said...

Got my book and looking forward to reading it!

As a side note, would you consider featuring one of Ruth Reichl's books? I've loved all of her memoirs and am now reading the new novel, Delicious, which would be a great selection for us as well.

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

Oops my post was up on August 19th but I forgot to let you know LOL. You can find it at

Joanne T Ferguson said...

G'day! I can't wait to participate Debra in this month's Cook the Books!
I LOVE your choice!
Cheers! Joanne @ What's On The List

Simona Carini said...

Here's my post:

Amy said...

Here is my post! Thank you for hosting! I'm going to love this club!

Alicia Foodycat said... done!

Deb in Hawaii said...

My post is up!

Thanks for hosting Debra and for a pick that made me hungry. ;-)

Debra Eliotseats said...

Claudia, I just red Delicious (b/c I won the book at Deb's site) and I loved it.

Debra Eliotseats said...

OK---I am probably the last to post! :)

Mine will be up tomorrow and the round up will be up soon after that.

I will email you all when it is up.

Thanks for reading along!

Claudia said...

Mine is now up. Thanks Debra for a delightful read.