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The Pleasures of Slow Food: Celebrating Authentic Traditions, Flavors, and Recipes Paperback – April 30, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811863824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811863827
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`The Pleasures of Slow Food' is edited by Atlantic Monthly editor Corby Kummer in that the half of the book contains recipes collected from European and American chefs prominent in the Slow Food movement. The first thirty pages of the book are taken up by a preface written by the founder of the Slow Food movement, Carlo Petrini, a Foreword written by Atlantic Monthly colleague (and author of the best-selling `Fast Food Nation') Eric Schlosser, and with an essay by the author on a description of the history and activities of the Slow Food organization. Eleven (11) essays take up the next fifty pages on various artisinal food producers. After the recipes is a very nice two-page table of contacts for the Slow Food movement in Europe and the United States and for contributors to this book.

The most important question to a prospective purchaser of this volume is `Do I want to shell out $40 for a collection of recipes by Rick Bayless, Deborah Madison, Alice Waters, Judy Rodgers, Paul Bertolli, Daniel Boulud and ten other notable American and European chefs'. The question becomes more acute if you, like me, already own twenty cookbooks by these contributors. I will soon point out some observations that make this decision even easier.

The `Slow Food' moniker for Carlo Petrini's movement is really a serious misnomer, as the primary objective of the movement is not as an adversary to MacDonalds, even though the projected startup of a MacDonalds at the base of Rome's Spanish steps was the precipitating act which set the movement in motion. As Allison Janney's character C. J. Craig said in a `West Wing' episode, `We need an enemy on this issue'.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I heard about this book on the radio and was very excited, since I love cooking and hate fast food. This book is overpriced and overproduced. The information about "slow food" is interesting, but could have been a long magazine article--just doesn't warrant oversized full-color treatment. There are very few recipes. I recommend the recent regional Italian cookbook, Rustico, by Mikol Negrin, a real treasure trove of slow recipes.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I think that "The Pleasures of Slow Food" is a remarkable book with something for everyone. You can enjoy the engaging stories of farmers, food artisans and cultural preservationists from around the world, written in Kummer's delightful manner. Alternatively you can relish in the sheer beauty of the photography. It's even a cookbook if you want to try the recipes of world reknown chefs. But what I liked best was the understanding I gained from it about the Slow Food movement. I'd never heard of it before. When I bought the book I thought it just referred to slow cooking. Instead it is a truly important effort that combines the fight against the loss of traditional ways of growing and preparing foods (as big business assumes more and more control of agriculture) with the desire for healthy, realistic (and delicious) alternatives to a fast food, high fat diet. Who knew you could join a movement that was both making the world a better place while allowing you to nurture your palate? Rush to get this book and to support what it represents.
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