Monday 24 November 2014

How to feast like a Soprano

A new cookbook is making all sorts of offers we can't refuse, writes Deirdre Reynolds

Marone! It's more than five years since The Sopranos cut to black, leaving fans everywhere wondering about the fate of James Gandolfini's troubled gangster.

Now it seems Tony Soprano is alive and well in homes around Ireland.

A DVD box-set bulging with all 86 episodes of the hit HBO series was still one of the most coveted pressies for guys over the festive season, according to stores here.

"The Sopranos Complete Series 1-6 DVD box set remains one of our best sellers on back catalogue," says Gennaro Castaldo of HMV Ireland.

"Given that the show has gone on to become such a cult classic, the box set is now considered a collector's item.

"Fans are still absorbing every last second of The Sopranos."

But it's not just the small screen.

Foodies across the land are also feasting like third-generation Italian-American Tony this new year after a cookbook inspired by the show turned up under Christmas trees, too.

The Sopranos Family Cookbook, written in the voice of Vesuvio owner Artie Bucco, pictured, but really penned by author Allen Rucker and chef Michele Scicolone, features recipes for all of the waste management consultant's favourite dishes, including baked ziti and 'pasta fazool'.

As Tony himself might say: "Are you f***ing kidding me?"

Think of The Sopranos, and the murky outcomes of Christopher, Big Pussy and even Tony's horse Pie-O-My first spring to mind – not wholesome family cuisine.

But given that the mafia boss spent as much time on the show stuffing his face as he did on Dr Melfi's couch or whacking people, maybe it's not such a surprising Italian connection.

Stateside, The Sopranos Family Cookbook has already sold 500,000 copies, with experts praising the authenticity of the recipes.

"There were very specific recipes that (Chase) wanted, either from his family or from his memory or that played an important part in the show."

It's not the first time that the success of a TV show has been parlayed into cookbook sales. Back in 1979, Harper Collins published The Little House Cookbook featuring 100 pioneer dishes inspired by Little House on the Prairie.

In 1995, Cooking with Friends offered recipes for, groan, "comfort foods for when 'it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year'", such as 'Misery Meatloaf' with a generous side of Friends dialogue and snaps.

Irish Independent

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