U Cutto: An Old Family Recipe by John Cutrone
Pronounced oo-cooto (which is from the Italian dialect that my grandparents spoke). This book is filled with family lore and recipes surrounding a traditional syrup brewed each year for many curious and wonderful holiday celebrations in Autumn and Yuletide–this ingredient makes its dramatic appearance in festive foods from I Morti (the Italian version of Day of the Dead) to Santa Lucia's Day and, of course, Christmas.
Printed letterpress in an edition of 65 on Genesis paper and bound in a double-pamphlet stitch in a cover wrap of walnut-stained Nideggan. Full of deliciously bizarre recipes and Italian Renaissance woodcuts. 24 pages. 1996.
NB: We thought this edition was sold out, but we recently found a few unbound copies of this early book in our archives, and are binding each in a wrap of luxurious brown handmade Fabriano Roma paper from Italy (the original walnut-dyed papers are all used up!). We are pleased to offer these last remaining copies at $125. There are only a couple left at this point, and then the edition is sold out forever.
Once each year, be it autumn or Christmastime, a sweet thick spicy aroma wafts through our home, through each room, seeping into every crack and corner. It is the aroma of simmering grape juice, simmering for hours upon hours, into a sweet sticky brew. It is a dense smell, filled with heaviness, grapeness, richness. As the brew simmers for hours and hours and grows more complex, so does the aroma. Sometimes you're not sure as to how pleasant it is, but there it is. You wonder about it as it moves around you and through the house. It is a great stimulus to memory, this smell that you have known once a year for as long as you can remember, your mother concocting this strange, strange brew in a tall, tall pot every autumn, just as her mother did before, as her mother's mother did, as it's always been, since time immemorial.
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