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Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating: How to Choose the Best Bread, Cheeses, Olive Oil, Pasta, Chocolate, and Much More Paperback – November 14, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (November 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395926165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395926161
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Those of us who have benefited from Ari's rich knowledge and passion for traditional full flavored foods are happy this delightful and interesting information is now available to everyone. Reading this book is as much a treat as eating the wonderful food at Zingerman's. It is like going on a food expedition with an enthusiastic guide who wants you to share in the fun he is having.
This isn't just a book on food history, or a treatise to teach how to discern quality food from mediocre food products, nor is it a book of recipes. It is more than all of these. Ari has the goal of helping us understand how to choose and enjoy great foods from all over the world. He has grouped the book in to six sections and each of these in to subsections. For example, the section on cheeses starts with a guide to buying cheeses, and then has subsections on Parmigiano-reggiano, cheddar, mountain, blue, and goat cheeses. Each of these subsections concludes with a few recipes to provide some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you have just read about. What I particularly like about the recipes that Ari has chosen is that they are mostly very simple preparations that maximize the experience of flavor and aroma.
The book also provides mail-order sources for obtaining quality foods and a nice reading list for further exploration. There is also a general index and a recipe index.
I was fortunate to be introduced to Zingerman's Delicatessen not long after it opened. The fun of eating there is only half the story. Learning about full flavor foods you haven't experienced before and exploring new tastes is another. Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw are very generous people who love food and love sharing what they learn with others.
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Format: Paperback
Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating:
A Zinger from Zingerman
(When the very best makes sense)
"How to choose the best bread, cheeses, olive oil, pasta, chocolate and much more ..."
By Marty Martindale
Illustrations by Ian Nagy and colleagues
This book is a foodie's joy and a hoot! It's also a very quick catchup if you have been totally out of the kitchen for the last decade or two. It's the Mediterranean scene, not the Asian scene, however. The book contains many recipes, great ones, too.
Author, Ari Weinzweig, no not Ari Zingerman, taught himself to be very food savvy, and he's graciously willing to share his self-taught connoisseurship methods through this book. Though a Chicago native, Ari went to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan where he had to decide on a major and stumbled into the food business at a the lowest end. Finally he and a partner thought the Ann Arbor area could support another deli, for who doesn't hate to leave their college town!
Many think the original delicatessens were markets selling Jewish/Kosher foods, the loxes, earliest sour creams, delightful pickles and to-die-for hot pastrami. Not so. It seems Germans, not Eastern European Jews, opened New York's earliest deli. Actually, the dictionary definition of a deli is: "a small shop that sells high quality foods, such as types of cheese and cold cooked meat, which come from many countries."
Naming the new Ann Arbor deli was a challenge for the new partners. Ari knew "Weinzweig" would be difficult for customers to pronounce much less remember. After a fashion, they agreed on "Zingerman's" for their Jewish-sounding store name, vendor of Mediterranean delights. They laughed, because the name had, "Zing," and they opened their new market in 1982.
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Format: Paperback
Nestled in one of the cooler parts of Ann Arbor, on a brick-covered road near some little shops and slightly peeling houses, is deli/restaurant Zingerman's, known for its amazingly high-quality food. Now in "Zingerman's Guide To Good Eating," Ari Weinzweig offers a glimpse into the best foods available.
"Guide" is half cookbook, half gourmet bible. Weinzweig offers some good recipes (like gazpacho with sherry vinegar, or grilled Tuscan pecorino cheese), but the core of this book is what goes into those. And it's enough to drive a devoted foodie insane -- olive oils, vinegars and oils; pasta and grains; meats; cheeses, and seasonings.
And Weinzweig doesn't skimp on the details either. Within every chapter, he describes the different kinds of... whatever he's talking about. For cheeses, he provides a buying guide, then the different kinds: Parmigiano-Reggiano, cheddar, mountain, blue, et cetera. For deli meat, it's salami, Serrano ham, prosciutto, and smoked salmon. As a bonus, he describes the history and making-of each product.
Warning: Do not read this book on an empty stomach. The descriptions of food will make you drool -- especially the people who have tasted Zingermans' food before. Even the less savory ideas (salmon anemia) can't kill the response this book will provoke. (And a certain feeling of confidence is inspired by the radio hosts and cookbook authors quoted on the back, as well as restauranteur Mario Batali of "Babbo")
A lot of food books can be condescending to the non-gourmet. But Weinzweig avoids that. His style is almost conversational, like having a chat with a gourmet chef. He talks about his own experiences, his own likes, and descriptions of his chats with people who know best.
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