Book Review: Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating by Ari Weinzweig
Book: Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eatingby Ari Weinzweig
Genre: Food literature
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication date: 2003
Summary: Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating by Ari Weinzweig is pretty much summed up by its subtitle: how to choose the best bread, cheeses, olive oil, pasta, chocolate, and much more. Each chapter features intriguing details and interesting stories about the history, production, and present state of food stuffs. Three or four recipes follow each chapter, some as simple as the four-ingredient the ultimate corned beef sandwich at home and others as complicated as provencal pistou which appears to be a starchy vegetable soup featuring several kinds of vegetables, kidney beans, spaghetti, cheese, and bread.
Thoughts: With each chapter, I found myself saying to Rick, “We’ve never had good olive oil” or “We’ve never had good balsamic vinegar.” And, we’ve tried with both of those. Armed with knowledge from Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating, I’m much better equipped to accomplish the goal. The fact that we’ve never had good chocolate is enough to make me glad to wake up each morning, knowing that I still have a chocolate experience awaiting me. I have another reason to look forward to our Chicago trip: Vosges Chocolate, one of the stores recommended in the appendix of this book. For us bookish types, I’m considering the Mini Dark Exotic Candy Bar Library.
Oddly enough, I am thinking of this as a healthy eating book. Chocolate played a big role in my former unhealthy eating habits, but it wasn’t good chocolate. There were moments while reading this book that I was uncomfortable with the elitism and expense of the artisanal products that were discussed. According to my Midwest upbringing, there’s something unseemly about focusing too much on the quality of food, which is most important for its nutritive value, after all. On the other hand, other cultures find something unseemly about lining up at a buffet for mounds of low-quality, low-priced food. I could use a little elitist focus on small quantities of great food to balance my culture’s emphasis on large quantities of bad food. The preface of Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating even has two pieces of advice in the Introduction that show up in most diet books: “slow down your eating” (p. xxi) and keep a food journal.
Appeal: This will be fun and useful for every one who eats!
Challenges: Aside from Weekend Cooking, this is the last of the nine books I challenged myself to read for The Foodie’s Reading Challenge, but I’ll keep reading and recording the books at the challenge site, because collectively we are developing quite a library of food books!
Reviews: Rikki of Rikki’s Teleidoscope introduced me to this book in March, Weekend cooking: Zingerman’s guide to good eating. She learned about it from Caite of a lovely shore breeze….: Weekend Cooking…Zingerman’s Guide To Good Eating .
Have you read this book? What did you think?
“The fact that we’ve never had good chocolate is enough to make me glad to wake up each morning, knowing that I still have a chocolate experience awaiting me.”
Yes, me too!
i like this entry a lot!
i bought Vosges chocolate for my librarian friend who lives in Albuquerque, when i travelled through Chicago en route to NM for the YA Lit Symposium… 🙂
and, recently having started eating 70% cacao chocolate, i agree with you say about we could use a bit more focus on high quality… now i have to take a peek at this book. 🙂
It really is easy to become a snob about “elitist” eating until you start to really eat and take notice of the difference in quality food. I’m going to have to look this book up.
I can understand being turned off by a feeling of elitism, but I’ve been to Zingerman’s and it’s not like that at all! I love learning about new foods, and new chocolate.
I loved this book!!! I’ve made a few recipes from it and they were awesome. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that I live only a few minutes from Zingerman’s. Love that place.
Here’s a post I did of the recipe from the book Lex’s Roast Chicken: