Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zingerman's is a food emporium specializing in top-quality products. One of the store's founding partners, Ari Weinzweig, is also the author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating
, a key to the pleasures of the best breads, cheeses, olive oil, chocolate, and more, complete with 130 recipes. Like his store (whose name is a fanciful evocation of old-world delis), Weinzweig is committed to the best. Why? "Ultimately, I could care less whether food is fancy," he writes. "I just want it to taste good." The better food tastes," he says, "the more zing [in your] daily routine." A too modest claim for the pleasures of getting to know your food
Beginning with an exploration of the why and how of better ingredients (if you think you can't recognize them, Weinzweig offers "eating experiments," such as trying supermarket Swiss cheese versus a well-aged Gruyère), and other help (like "Saffron Superstitions Skewered"). He then presents food profiles--such as those for oils, olives, and vinegars, and grains and rices--with notes on production and exemplary types, brand information and other what-to-look for info, plus suggestions for use. For example, readers learn about Italian rices such as arborio and carnaroli; discover how to recognize their impostors (look for the seal of the rice growers consortium); take a visit to a venerable rice grower; then receive thorough advice on risotto making. Simple, flavorful recipes that highlight food items, such as Roquefort and Potato Salad, Pasta with Pepper and Pecorino, and Buckwheat Honey Cake, follow. In addition, Weinzweig also offers timelines like that for chocolate, plus technical tips such as those for brewing tea successfully. As sensible as it's informative, the book's a true blueprint for discovery. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Weinzweig is a founding partner of Zingerman's, a famed Ann Arbor, Mich., deli. His guide instructs on how to shop, not how to cook, and he opens up a world of gourmet particulars: he tells not just how to select a good olive oil or a real balsamic vinegar from the thousands on the shelf, but explains the differences among varietal honeys like chestnut, eucalyptus and lemon blossom; hot-smoked and cold-smoked salmon; Spanish and Iranian saffron; dry-cured and brine-cured olives. Weinzweig, who has a certifiable obsession with artisanal products, is at his best describing the often painstaking processes that transform raw ingredients into culinary phenomena. If globalization has made many imported foods both more available and less authentic, Weinzweig's paeans to San Daniele prosciutto and Cabrales blue cheese do much to restore the romance of the table. Weinzweig occasionally waxes pedantic or obvious ("better fish tastes better"), but his mouthwatering brand of fanaticism speaks for itself. Does it make sense to spend money buying a book that simply impels you to increase your grocery budget by 50%? Well, as Weinzweig would have it, "good food is for everyone"; when it comes to the luxuries of the table, there's no disputing taste.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.