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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Essay on Slow Food. Little use as a cookbook
`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...
Published on December 12, 2004 by B. Marold

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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much here, even for a slow reader
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...
Published on November 8, 2002


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Essay on Slow Food. Little use as a cookbook, December 12, 2004
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`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'. Fast food restaurants are not so much evil in themselves as, like Gresham's law, they threaten to drive out the things which this movement wishes to preserve. These valuables are artisinal foods and methods, most of which have been used and practiced for centuries, and are in danger of disappearing as much through the action of large food processors and government regulations as they are by the presence of a McDonald's in Rome. This is not to say Fast Food is not evil in its own right, as Schlosser points out, a typical fast food hamburger is a virtual soup of overprocessed, underflavored, artificial ingredients with an unpleasant aftertaste. But this is really a different battle than the preservation of valuable food traditions.

The Slow Food movement was founded in Italy, which still has the largest participation. In the early years of the movement, the leading country outside of Italy was Germany. France came to the table very late, and in the last few years, membership in the United States has been leading the charge alongside the Italians. This is largely due to the synergy between the movement's objectives and the vision of American culinary leaders such as Rick Bayless, Deborah Madison, Alice Waters, and Waters' apostles Judy Rodgers and Paul Bertolli.

The movement has three principle initiatives. These are the Ark, a directory of endangered foods around the world, the Presidia or local organizations which work at preserving Ark foods, and the Slow Food Award which brings attention and assistance to agricultural activists who work with Ark foods. The most visible activity of the movement is the Salone del Gusto, a multi-day conference on the activities of the movement. But back to the book.

As an introduction to the Slow Food movement, this book is much better than the two earlier books I have reviewed on this subject by prominent authors Paula Wolfert and Joyce Goldstein. Had I known of the information in this book before I reviewed Wolfert and Goldstein, I would have had a much better take on their books. Still, this book may be less valuable in the long run than the cookbooks by Wolfert and Goldstein. My first reason for saying this is that for $40, you are getting nothing more than 80 pages of recipes from a very wide variety of different voices. Since almost all cookbooks are, by their nature, reference books to which one goes when you need a recipe to fit a particular situation, this book is poor, as there is no central theme to the recipes. There is no question I can think of which would make me pull this book from my shelves in preference over any one of a dozen other books.

But wait a minute. Isn't this book supposed to be all about slow food? Yes, but the recipes in this book do not really exemplify the slow food objectives, as they simply do not focus on artisinal ingredients and techniques. And, unlike Wolfert's and Goldstein's books, the recipes range in style from Germany to Mexico. So, while a lust for something Italian may take me to Goldstein's book, nothing will suggest I go to this book. The only thing connecting the recipes is the recipes' authors are all active in the movement.

By far the most valuable contribution of this book is in its informing us of the various families of Ark foods to which we can give allegiance and to help support. The most famous issue for Americans may be the case of raw milk cheeses. As the government may at any moment tighten up on their ban on importing raw milk cheeses from Europe, creating these delights in the United States becomes more and more urgent.

While the book was written by a professional writer, I was surprised at the number of cases of poor usage and exaggerated metaphors I found in the text. It is really a bit much to say that a plate being passed from one person to another is white hot. My recollection from physics is that white-hot is about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. But, this is not the real issue.

You may want this book if you need a good description of the Slow Food activities and objectives.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much here, even for a slow reader, November 8, 2002
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written (and beautiful) book on important movement, November 15, 2002
By A Customer
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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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars join slow food usa, November 19, 2002
By 
jim weiss (pomfret center, ct USA) - See all my reviews
I recommend this book to anyone who is worried about the unhealthy dominance of fast food and global agribusiness in the world today. This beautiful tomb, while not sponsored by Slow Food, heighlights a number of families around the world, who are sustaining the production of foods that give us choice in the marketplace, and a foothold against those who produce products that look great , ship well but are without taste.
Bravo, Atlantic Monthly for promoting this most profound Slow Food movement that is reawakening us to the politics and business of food. Buy this book, look at slowfood.com, and buy locally grown and artisan foods .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kummer continues to amaze us., December 19, 2013
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This review is from: The Pleasures of Slow Food: Celebrating Authentic Traditions, Flavors, and Recipes (Paperback)
An obvious rebellion to fast-food, Corby entices one to try the various slow-food specialties if not actually travel to their source.
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars frank bruno, December 20, 2004
this book is a waste. the few simple recipes can be found in any monthly food magizine for alot less money. at best they are not even correct. example pg, 128 has you soaking dried cod for 1 hour. I can make many italian jokes about the procedure in the book. but cod, normally is soaked three days. unless you like a mouth full of pure salt with cardboard. of the more then 300 books I own this is the worst.
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The Pleasures of Slow Food: Celebrating Authentic Traditions, Flavors, and Recipes
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