As its name suggests, the Slow Food movement, founded in Italy, is dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional foodways--to protecting artisanal food producers and the pleasures of eating well. Corby Kummer's The Pleasures of Slow Food
introduces readers to the movement and its goals, while acquainting them with some of the producers worldwide who embody its spirit and objectives. Thus we meet the likes of Cindy and David Meyers, whose Vermont dairy makes exceptional cheeses, and Germany's Torshen Kramer, producer of fine cured meats and sausages. The artisans also share with Kummer the stories of their work (of their early cheese-making efforts Cindy Meyers says, "The bleu
wouldn't turn blue ... I buried a lot of cheese in the manure pile").
Most excitingly, perhaps, Kummer has included 40 recipes from chefs and everyday cooks whose approach to food and cooking also represents the Slow Food ideal, and in this Kummer has excelled. Not meant for weekday cooking, but easily doable if, in line with the Slow Food ideal, people will put aside time to produce truly gratifying food, the recipes are hits that just keep on coming. Whether it's a simple Chicken Cacciatore with Baked Potatoes from the Piedmontese farm of Elena Rovera; Fried Plantains with Chipotle Ketchup, courtesy of Steve Johnson at the Blue Room restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts; an extraordinary lamb stew from master chef Daniel Boulud; or Alice Waters's caramelized Apricot Tart, the recipes are universally superb. With an introduction by Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, and marvelous color photos by Susie Cushner, the oversize book offers a thoughtful introduction to the movement, as well as culinary thrills to those willing to take it slow. --Arthur Boehm
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From Publishers Weekly
The organization Slow Food-meant to stand as the antithesis to "fast food"-dedicates itself to artisanal and traditional foods. Italian journalist Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food, and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, contribute a brief preface and foreword, respectively. Kummer's history of the organization ably chronicles its growth from a protest against installation of a McDonald's in Rome in 1985 to its current focus on the Ark, "a directory of endangered foods around the world that members rescue by enjoying them." There is a section on 10 of the artisanal products included in the Ark, some coupled together for comparison (for example, there is a short essay on cheese made in the Basilicata region of Italy and another on cheese made in Vermont): these stories provide glimpses into the psyches of people like Jim Gerritsen, who has dedicated his life to growing heirloom potatoes in Maine. Kummer then offers simple, homespun recipes, and proposes that through each one, the homecook can learn "how to imprint that taste on your own dishes." Recipes are arranged from "Old World to New," so there are a few selections from Italy, such as Pesto alla Genovese from the Garibaldi family, who run a farmhouse restaurant in Liguria, and from Ireland-Baked Cheese with Winter Herbs from Tom and Giana Ferguson of County Cork. The vast majority of these 44 recipes, however, come from American restaurateurs such as Ana Sortun (Lamb Steak with Turkish Spices and Fava Bean Moussaka) from Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, Mass., as well as from Alice Waters and Daniel Boulud. And while the recipes from America don't always focus on local ingredients, they do embrace the spirit of Slow Food. This is a noble and handsome effort.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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