In Bocca Books

The In Bocca books are much more than a series of rare and quirky regional Italian cookbooks. There are 20 or so of the original editions (first published in the 1970s by the Italian publisher Il Vespro), each devoted to a different Italian region or city, and I've managed to collect about 12 of them. All of the content in these corrugated cardboard—bound books is in both Italian and English, and while the recipes are useful to me from a cook's perspective, as a collector, I find myself more intrigued by the cultural content and unique, folkloric, and often psychedelic illustrations. Napoli in Bocca, for example, has an appendix devoted to the gastronomic portion of the southern Italian dream dictionary La Smorfia. Apparently, if you dream of the nougat torrone, not only should you go to the dentist, but you should also pick the number two in the lotto the next day! —Liza Shaw, A16, San Francisco


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