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The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life (Modern Library Food) Paperback – August 9, 2005
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Although he wrote it nearly 60 years ago, Pellegrini's treatise on food and life reads like a contemporary paean to the Italian culinary ideal. It is no surprise that the editor of this series of classic food writings chose Mario Batali to write a new introduction to Pellegrini, for the two share a nearly identical philosophy. Pellegrini immigrated to the U.S. from Italy and became a professor of English. At his Seattle home, he cultivated a garden and spread a gospel of simple, fresh cooking that wowed his academic colleagues. Disdaining the pretensions of the midcentury movement for processed, flavorless foods, Pellegrini was a lonely voice for using game, fresh herbs, home-canned tomatoes, and garden vegetables to create simple sauces for pasta. He relished the organ meats that repelled so many others, but he could not cook without his beloved imported Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. In his writings, he recorded recipes, but these are more general techniques than rosters of precisely measured ingredients. Those unfamiliar with Pellegrini will be astounded at his prescience. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“I have always thought that Angelo Peligrini misnamed his charming but opinionated book. It should have been called the Prejudiced Palate, because he is so absolutely sure and unwavering in his vision of how to live a beautiful and delicious life. And I think he’s right.”
–Alice Waters, Owner, Chez Panisse
"Like great dishes, great writing remains in our memory forever. Angelo
Pellegrini's THE UNPREJUDICED PALATE is a lesson in how to enjoy life
in an elegant and highly civilized way."
– Jacques Pépin
"Angelo Pellegrini remains undoubtedly one of America's greatest food writers. But THE UNPREJUDICED PALATE is not just about cooking; it's about taking the time to slow down and savor life. This delightful classic is a must read for those who live in our fast-food nation."
–David Rosengarten, author of It’s All American Food, The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook and Taste
"THE UNPREJUDICED PALATE is a forgotten gem from what might be remembered as the Golden Age of American food writing. This Italian born, beloved Seattle professor, friend and colleague of MFK Fisher, wrote with charm, wit, and a rare intelligence about food."
–Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt, Cod, 1968
“Angelo Pellegrini’s very personal view of cookery in America in the late forties is erudite, fascinating and at times screamingly funny. His descriptions of his Italian family’s favorite dishes are so complete that they might as well be recipes, each more delicious sounding than the next”
“THE UNPREJUDICED PALATE is a savory treat that, like a fine wine or good stinky cheese, has improved with age”
–Jessica Harris, author of The Africa Cookbook and Beyond Gumbo
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After that, the author moves on to explain his peasant upbringing in Italy and eventually immigration to the US and the book begins to pick up. Finally, about halfway through he begins to share recipes, though not in typical recipe book format (only charlatans would do such a thing) but in a more home-style, "sitting around grandpa's table" sort of way.
And yet, I'd be reading happily along and there would be another scornful zinger (hefty children and fat bottomed aunts, anyone?) sheesh.
I found that imagining the author as a curmudgeonly 90 year old grandfather (though he was only in his 40's when this book was published) helped me get through it.
That being said, speckled throughout, there are many delicious recipes, many good thoughts on gardening and our response to food and wine (my favorite is when eh compares eating pasta with a side to bread to eating mashed potatoes with french fries - I always thought it was rather redundant!)