'Cucina del Sole' and Sake tasting 

Food journalist Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who has lived in Italy on and off for years, tackles Southern Italian recipes and culinary culture from Campania, Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia and Sicily in "Cucina del Sole" (William Morrow, $29.95). Now — when Northern California feels most like the Mezzogiorno, and tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, green beans and peppers are in markets — is the time to get immersed in this soulful vegetable-based cooking. Turn to the "Verdure e Insalate" section to learn how.

I have traveled with Jenkins and know how much research she brings to the table. Her prose amplifies the cookbook genre, turning it into something deeper — travel guide, social history, sensual landscape. Read her "Advice to the Traveler" chapter in the back and you'll know exactly what restaurants, inns and shops to visit in Southern Italy and why you should go. The book makes an authentic taste of this part of the world accessible at home.

SAKE SEMINAR AND TASTING

Taste from the three categories of artisanal sake — daiginjo, ginjo and junmai — while comparing your ratings to those of the 2006 U.S. National Sake Appraisal judging. Afterward, sip them with traditional appetizers from Kiku of Tokyo.

6 p.m., Miyako Hotel, 1625 Post St., San Francisco. Tickets, which are $37, must be purchased in advance. aftertaste@joyofsake or call (888)799-7242.

About The Author

Patricia Unterman

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