Anna Del Conte brought Italian cooking to Britain at a time when the nearest most of us came to pasta was a tinned spaghetti hoop. Sharply observant, evocative, full of tastes and talk of food, hers is a delicious, poignant memoir of an unusual life and the food she loves to cook, which launched a culinary revolution. Born in Milan, she grew up in pre-war Italy in a privileged gentler time. These are memories of a life seen through food, starting with a childhood in training (though she didn't know it), to be a food writer. When war came to Italy everything changed violently. Her family had to abandon their apartment and the city for the countryside, where in war-torn Italy the peasants still ate well, but life was dangerous...As a teenager, Anna became used to throwing herself into a ditch as the strafing planes flew over, and was imprisoned, twice. But England made her too: she arrived here in 1949 when much of Britain was a culinary wasteland, married an Englishman and stayed on...Her memories of the time are vividly, hilarious preserved - from the joys of un-rationed horse meat to tomato soup at Lyons Corner House. While bringing up her children, she wrote books which inspired a new generation of cooks. Her story is informed and enlivened by the food and memories of her native Italy - from lemon granita in childhood winters to wartime risotto with nettles, from vitello tonnato to horsemeat roll, from pastas to porcini - each chapter rounded off with mouthwatering recipes.
Anna Del Conte was born in Milan, came to England as an au pair in 1949, married an Englishman and has lived in Britian ever since. Her books have won many prizes: Gastronomy of Italy received the Duchessa Maria Luigia di Parma award, Entertaining All'Italiana was shortlisted for the Andre Simon award, and The Classic Food of Northern Italy won awards from the Guild of Food Writers and the Accademia Italiana della Cucina. Her most recent book was Amaretto, Apple Cake and Artichokes: The Best of Anna Del Conte. She has contributed regularly to Sainsbury's Magazine and received the Glenfiddich award for her articles in 1999. Anna Del Conte lives in Dorset.