Recently, a well-known newspaper has published the list of 2010 best-selling books in Italy. Guess who won? Cotto e mangiato (Cooked and Eaten), the recipe book written by Benedetta Parodi which became a bestseller in the very first weeks after the release date (November 2009).
The author is a young Italian journalist who used to anchor a famous newscast, StudioAperto. After she had left the desk of the TV broadcast, she started to host, for the same network, a short programme called Cotto e Mangiato (Cooked and Eaten), which is shot in her own kitchen. The idea behind the show is quite simple: in a few minutes Benedetta Parodi explains step by step an easy and quick recipe, that could be prepared by everybody, experts as well as dummies.
Unexpectedly, in a short time the programme was a great success: thence, a book seemed the natural outcome of these premises. Cooked and Eaten gathers 243 recipes from the homonymous show. The style remains the same: easy, direct, suitable for everybody, with a special attention to people who do not have much time for cooking. Being sure to be successful again, the author published a second book at the end of 2010: Benvenuti nella mia cucina (Welcome to my kitchen), third place on the 2010 list of best-selling books in Italy. This time the recipes – 220, to be precise – are collected in an ideal diary that lasts one year and suggests the best dishes for each month.
Benedetta Parodi’s success is a fact, but so far she has received much criticism too. Many famous food bloggers made biting comments about her: according to them, with her recipes she perverts the real tradition of the glorious Italian cuisine. Actually, the author also uses frozen foods and industrial products while preparing her recipes and this seemed a betrayal of the ideal recipe book.
Indeed, in many interviews Benedetta openly declared that she does not want to compete with professional chefs: her goals and her target are completely different, she addresses all the people who have little time to spend in the kitchen, but nonetheless they want to eat something tasty, without splashing money around.
The idea is a winning one: how many of you, when coming back after work, would like to prepare something in a few minutes … Cooked and Eaten?