For Immediate Release
May 11, 2021
Popular CNN series Searching for Italy sparks a massive uptick in sales of Pellegrino Artusi’s classic cookbook, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.
The award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer Stanley Tucci is better known as a celebrity than as a gourmand whose reading habits influence bestseller lists. But his recent passion for Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well as expressed on his new, widely acclaimed food-travel series, Searching for Italy, has inspired the sort of uptick in book sales commonly associated with Oprah’s Book Club.
Originally published in 1891, La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangia bene became so popular that it was commonly referred to as a second Bible for Italian households and given to young couples as a wedding gift. University of Toronto Press (UTP) publishes the only English-language edition of Artusi’s collection of 790 time-honoured recipes from across Italy. After years of modest yet steady sales, Artusi’s cookbook is suddenly enjoying what Jane Kelly, UTP’s Director of Sales and Marketing, lightheartedly calls “the Stanley Tucci effect.”
On the Bologna episode of Searching for Italy, Tucci introduces viewers to key places and players in the region’s food industry. Artusi’s hometown, Forlimpopoli, is a stop on this tour. Tucci talks with local food professionals about their favourite recipes from Artusi’s cookbook and the author’s reputation as the father of Italian cookery. During the three months before CNN aired the Bologna episode on Sunday, February 28, 2021, UTP sold roughly 100 copies of Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well; in the three months after it appeared, over 5,000 copies were sold.
“There’s no question that Tucci’s Bologna episode sparked this astronomical jump in sales,” says Kelly. “That people are stuck at home, looking for new recipes, likely didn’t hurt either.” Food professionals fall into both camps. When his restaurant closed for the lockdown, Toronto chef Andrew Saturino turned to food shows to stay focused on cooking. “Everyone works with Artusi’s book at culinary school, of course,” Saturino says. “Stanley Tucci prompted me to explore these recipes again for the first time in years. I’m grateful that he did.”
Whether the “Tucci effect” will be a one-time special or a regular staple of the UTP menu remains to be seen. Either way, Kelly and her team are working to sustain this surge of sales and interest in Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. CNN recently announced that a second season of Searching for Italy will appear in 2022. To the consternation of Kelly and others, however, there’s been no word yet if it will include a follow-up trip to Artusi’s hometown.
University of Toronto Press (UTP) has published landmark scholarship since 1901. One of the largest university presses in North America, UTP releases over 180 new scholarly, course, and general interest books in both print and ebook format and 47 journals each year. In addition, UTP also operates UTP Distribution through warehouses in Toronto and Buffalo along with campus bookstores across the University of Toronto. For more information, visit utorontopress.com.
Chris Reed, Publicist, University of Toronto Press
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