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By Bill Marsano. 1993 was a landmark year for cookbooks: That was the year Contessa Anna Tasca Lanza published "The Heart of Sicily." Long out of print, it is now restored to us at last. Cause for rejoicing! The Contessa seldom uses her title; in fact, she prefers to be known for her cooking and her cooking school. And so she is--internationally. The importance of her title is only this: It ties her to Regaleali, the great estate that has been at the heart of Sicily for centuries--since the time, in fact, of the Arab conquest, when the place was known as Rahal-Ali or Village of Ali. Sicilian cooking isn't "Italian cooking"--it's one of the 20 or so related cuisines to be found in Italy, and it is at the same time the most and least original. Most because it is so little akin to any of the others; least because it's really a composite, developed from so many other source cuisines: Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, French, Spanish. Still, it's not exactly a mystery because so many of the 19th-Century immigrants to America were Sicilians, and their food was, for many of us, the first "Italian food" we tasted. The book naturally follows a seasonal menu--Regaleali, though mostly a winery, remains enough of a farm to grow most of its own food. Also, since the sea in Sicily is never far away, there is much to be made of anchovies and swordfish and tuna. Finally, since we are in Sicily, the sweets and pastries are breath-taking. The Contessa is a non-nonsense cook, I was relieved to find. For all her fame and stature she is perfectly content with boullion cubes, noting only that pepper and especially salt must be added with great care at the end of cooking to avoid over-seasoning. Likewise she's not one of those who claim that olive oil cannot be kept for more than a year--keep it cool and in the dark, she says, and it will keep far longer. You will find here recipes familiar and recipes startlingly new to you, and there is overall a conversational approach: You feel as if you and she are cooking on the same side of the stove. Most important you will find that the Contessa's beauty and dignity infuse her prose style as well. To take but one example: "The winter sunshine in Sicily is one of the most beautiful things you can experience. I remember one magical day, one of those days I call a gift from God. The sky was blue, blue, blue, and the countryside green everywhere. From where I stood, I could see the Madonie Mountains, covered with snow, and Etna, also snowcapped, in the distance. All around me was silence, except for a few birds here and there talking to one another." The recipes are clearly laid out and easy enough to follow. You will want to take care to purchase Regaleali wines, which bear the label of the Counts Tasca d-Almerita, to serve with them (look them up at [...] The many, many photographs are spectacular.--Bill Marsano is a James Beard award-winning writer on wine, food and travel.