The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Italian Baking Secrets / The Italian Baker

trenz's picture

Italian Baking Secrets / The Italian Baker

Hi, I am new to baking and have been reading this site while deciding which couple of books to buy.( awesome site by the way ) I have read the threads  about recommendations and have a question. I can not find The Italian Baker in the bookstore and my librarys copy is lost. I wanted to take a look before purchasing and came across a book called Italian Baking Secrets by Father Giuseppe Orsini. This one I can get at my library. Here are quotes from two of the amazon reviews

This book appears to be very closely related to 'The Italian Baker' copyright 1985 by Carol Field. In fact this may essentially be a "new edition" of that quarter century old book(?) The overall length is reduced, apparently by omitting some of the most obscure material and replacing or substantially rewriting chunks of the rest. Yet the similarities are huge. At least pages 18-55 are reprinted word for word (in the process changing the anecdotal "I" from a she to a he). And the table of contents is almost the same. I wish I knew more about the relationship between the two books and between the two authors so I could better compare the highs and lows.

I guess I didn't need this book because I already own Carol Fields' 1985 "The Italian Baker." I don't know if the joke's on me, but huge portions of this book (including the personal anecdotes) are copied verbatim from that volume. What the heck? To be fair, the recipes are excellent, especially the regional and rustic breads - I'm just not sure this guy should get the credit.

Does anyone know anything about this book? Is it even worth checking out of the library or is it no good?





blaisepascal's picture

I know nothing about the two books, so I cannot speak directly to the quality of them except for what's been said here, but...

If the new book is really a plaigerized, edited version of the old, then the publishing ethics of the new author are suspect, but it also means that the recipes and instruction are probably as good as the old.  That's essentially what the second review quoted said: "To be fair, the recipes are excellent, especially the regional and rustic breads - I'm just not sure this guy should get the credit."

Under the circumstances, I see no loss to checking it out of the library and seeing for yourself.  I'd be much more hesitent to buy it.

rolls's picture

i have the italian baker by carol field, it is the BEST book!!

hope this helps :0

hilo_kawika's picture

Hi Tony,

If you like the book after having seen it in the library, there are 10 used copies at with prices ranging from $16 to $199 (!) not including shipping.  To see the listing just use the search box and type the author's last name first, then first name and on the second line of the search box the book title.   You can then further narrow the search by country, etc.


Dave Hurd, Hilo, Hawaii