Katie Parla on the Italian islands, shepherd culture, and diving for urchin

Salt & Spine

22-09-2023 • 40 mins

Happy Friday folks! This week’s episode is a wee bit late because it’s a live show (!!!) which means the audio gave us a slight technical run-around. But it’s a fun one, for sure, in which we chat with Katie Parla in front of a live audience at our beloved Omnivore Books in San Francisco.

First — last week, I shared the New York Times profile of B. Dylan Hollis, and this week the NYT is back (via Salt + Spine friend Priya Krishna) with a full feature on TikTok stars and how they’re changing the name of the cookbook game. “[Hollis] is one of several TikTok creators, many of them with little or no professional cooking experience, who have gone from tinkering in their home kitchens to topping best-seller lists in a remarkably short time. In the process, they’ve shot a jolt of energy into a sagging cookbook market.”

Now, let’s head to Italy…

* Hey there, do you love Salt + Spine? We’d love if you shared this email with a friend who might want to #TalkCookbooks with us, too:

Episode 160: Katie Parla

In this week’s episode, Katie joined me in front of an audience at Omnivore Books in San Francisco to discuss:

* The cuisines of Italy’s islands—which involve less fish and seafood than you might think;

* Her decision to self-publish her latest cookbook, Food of the Italian Islands—and why she’ll keep self-publishing in the future;

* What she wishes she knew when she first moved to Italy 20 years ago.

Plus, as always, we put Katie to the test in our signature culinary game.

Food of the Italian Islands by Katie Parla

A transportive cookbook inviting readers through Sicily, Sardinia, and Italy’s lesser-known island destinations so you can sink your teeth into the secrets of their rustic, romantic dishes. Katie Parla will take you through the streets of Palermo where her great-grandfather was born, across the caper fields of volcanic Pantelleria, into the kitchens of Sardinia for lessons in ornate pasta making, and to the pristine waters of Ponza to dive for sea urchins. And no island adventure with Katie would be complete without a jaunt through the Venetian lagoon on her fishing boat Laura!

But Food of the Italian Islands isn’t just an island journey with your favorite Jersey girl. There are also over 85 recipes, both original and reimagined, that showcase the allure of the islands, including pane frattau featuring Sardinia’s beloved flatbread; bigoli in salsa, a party pasta popular in Venice; coniglio all’ischitana, braised rabbIt in the style of Ischia; torta caprese, Capri’s flourless chocolate-almond cake; and an array of pesto sauces from Pantelleria, Trapani, Linsoa, and Carloforte that will have you asking, “pesto genovese who?”

We 💚 local bookstores. Pick up your copy of Katie’s latest book here:

This week, paid subscribers will receive a recipe for Pesto Pantesco, the regional recipe from the island of Pantelleria, a speck south of Sicily, which employs tomatoes and the “wonderful, savory flavor of Pantelleria’s most famous export, salted capers.” Yum!

Salt + Spine is supported by listeners like you. For this week’s recipe—plus exclusive content and hundreds of other featured recipes—become a paid subscriber today.

This Week’s New Cookbook Releases

* Made in Taiwan: Recipes and Stories from the Island Nation by

* Simply West African: Easy, Joyful Recipes for Every Kitchen by Pierre Thiam with Lisa Katayama

* Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes from the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters by

* A New Way to Bake: Re-imagined Recipes for Plant-based Cakes, Bakes and Desserts by

* Crave: Bold Recipes That Make You Want Seconds by Karen Akunowicz

* Les Dames d'Escoffier New York Cookbook: Stirring the Potby Silvia Baldini and Sharon Franke

* Gatherings: Casual-Fancy Meals to Share by America’s Test Kitchen

* Every Season Is Soup Season: 85+ Souper-Adaptable Recipes to Batch, Share, Reinvent, and Enjoy by Shelly Westerhausen Worcel

* Skinnytaste Simple: Easy, Healthy Recipes with 7 Ingredients or Fewer by Gina Homolka and Heather K. Jones R.D.

* Fraiche Food, Fuller Hearts: Wholesome Everyday Recipes Made With Love by Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer

See you next week!



This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit saltandspine.substack.com/subscribe

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