A definitive work on Italian bread baking and pastry, The Italian Baker explores the diverse baking traditions of Italy. Its author, the late Carol Field, who made her home in San Francisco and spent over two years working with bakers in Italy. After mastering a collection of their classic recipes, she returned to the U.S. to rework them for the American kitchen using locally available ingredients. The resulting cookbook became highly influential in its first version, and a later revised edition made it an even more valuable resource.
Before becoming an expert in Italian cuisine, Field worked as both a journalist and editor. The influence can be clearly observed in her works. She was one of the first American cookbook authors to place as much emphasis on the cultural and historical context of cuisine as in the preparation itself.