Monday, September 14, 2009

You Say Crostata di Ricotta, I Say Cheesecake

...and we're back!

We apologize for the delay, loyal readers (all three of you!). What with the furlough we experienced in mid-August and the back-to-school rush that has kept our Reference Department hopping for the last three weeks, we haven't had much time for blogging. But we're back, and we'll continue to provide you with the quirkiest and/or interesting and/or interestingly quirky reference questions our patrons bring to us. We promise.

Today's post comes courtesy of a culinary-inclined gentleman who approached our desk over the weekend. He told us that he needed the recipe for Joyce Goldstein's Italian cheesecake which was, as he explained, available online. Could we track it down for him, he asked?

Track down a cheesecake recipe on the Internet? No problemo, we thought. With sites like Recipezaar,, and AllRecipes reigning over the Interwebs, surely Ms. Goldstein's recipe would be documented somewhere.

But alas, our confident searching slowed to a snail's pace when we discovered that the ingredients for this scrumptious dish were nowhere to be found. Sure, we found references to it on BigOven and But the recipe itself was never listed.

So we searched. And searched. And searched a little more. We tried different search terms, strategies, and sources, but the elusive cheesecake recipe (which was starting to sound more and more delicious by the second) seemed just beyond our reach.

It was after we began to peruse a course schedule from the Oregon-based In Good Taste Cooking School that we started to sense some progress. Apparently, Ms. Goldstein taught a cooking class called "Italian Slow and Savory" at the In Good Taste Cooking School back in 2004, and guess what was on her menu? You guessed it! Only instead of calling it "Italian cheesecake," it was called crostata di ricotta. No wonder we were coming up empty: we weren't using the right search terms to conduct our research.

Within just a minute or two, we found the recipe -- in its original form! Thanks to the ever-helpful GoogleBooks, we were able to print out the authentic recipe for crostata di ricotta* and even placed a hold on the cookbook in which it originally appeared (Cucina Ebraica, available via SearchOHIO) for the kind gentleman who was so eager to bake this delicious dish.

This reference transaction was a humbling reminder that we're only as effective as our search strategies. Google may seem all-knowing and all-powerful, but yes, it has its limits. That's where your librarian steps in!


...who's in the mood for some cheesecake?

* ETA: While we had no problems accessing the recipe in its entirety over the weekend, Google Books is now only allowing us to view page 189; the ingredients for crostata di ricotta, however, appear on pages 188-189.

We're currently searching for a solution to this problem. In the meantime, if you're interested in ordering Cucina Ebraica, click here!


  1. It seems part of the recipe is missing?

  2. Hi Anonymous!

    Thanks for letting us know. It seems that there's a problem with getting the relevant pages in Google Books to appear; this may be tied into our viewing limit for Cucina Ebraica. Our apologies!

    The recipe appears on pages 188-189 of Cucina Ebraica; however, Google Reader is now only allowing us to view page 189. This was not the case when we were answering our reference question, thankfully, but it still doesn't help our blog readers who'd like to view the dish. We'll keep working to find a more user-friendly version. Thanks again for pointing out our oversight!

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