on November 2, 2010
I'm not a fan of most food books these days. The ones that aren't just plain trash are overtly commercial vehicles for celebrities hawking their latest line of pots & pans. Wait a minute, those are just plain trash, too.
But once in a while, a book comes along that's written by somebody who obviously loves what they're writing about, and can do it well. This is one of those books.
Chef Georgia Pellegrini (unrelated to me) is a breath of fresh air in a culinary scene that worships 30-minute-meals and the wonders of boneless, skinless meats. She's a real food lover who values timeless traditions embodied by the slow foods and artisan producers profiled in her book. This is not a "how-to" book (though it does contain a handful of brilliant recipes), or a deep dive into a narrow area of culinary minutiae. It's an eclectic celebration of the art of artisan food processing, delivered in the form of artisan profiles. The stories are moving, heart-felt descriptions of artisans and their craft, and will make you long for the foods described in each chapter.
The only criticism I have, if you can call it that, is the Euro-centric focus (considering that most American food traditions are handed down from Europeans). Perhaps this is an opportunity to even further expand horizons for future works. I vote for a chapter on miso artisans in your next book!
Georgia Pellegrini grew up with a family that used sustainable foods, she drifted to Wall Street in adulthood but quickly returned to the food world and has picked out 16 culinary heroes from across the world to write about. Her writing is both easy to read and illuminating, even if you are not quite `into' the world of sustainable ingredients. She will teach you that you definitely need to enter it and appreciate and support these men and women who are continuing the practice of good natural foods.
These heroes are ones who preserve food types and preparations of: potatoes, smoking hogs, fungus-mushrooms, beer, salami, olive oil, heirloom seeds, honeybees (containing a very interesting theory for the worrying disappearance of a number of honeybees), oysters, cheese, butter, chocolate, tamales, persimmons, whiskey and figs. The stories of these individuals and Georgia's visits to them are engrossing, she includes a to-do list and a listing of names, addresses phone numbers and web sites of those and more than she writes of. A conversion chart is included, as is a recipe index for the several recipes that follow each chapter, as well as a normal index.
Hint... do not miss the whiskey salad and bourbon pecan tart recipe - they are amazing..
As Georgia writes, people today "seek satisfaction in the drive-through. In response chefs today seduce patrons with novelty and food pyrotechnics; little towers of nothing in the center of oversized plates, while customers are increasingly distracted by what is stamped `healthy'. Artisanal beer is abandoned for a lower-calorie version. Fat is avoided like the plague. And as a result, good food has lost its luster."
This sums up what the goal of this book is and if you wish to gain knowledge of what real food is, you would do well to read and learn.
on August 4, 2014
Georgia Pellegrini had my mouth watering and desiring everything I read about -- even WHISKEY, and I don't like whiskey. I even went online in search for one of the products. If you're a foodie and you want to connect with some of the mom and pop artisan that bring us the food we crave, you'll enjoy Food Heroes.
on March 20, 2013
So interesting and informative easy read !!,,,,,,,,,, good book. Perfect condition. Received. Fast written well makes you feel like you have been there..