cover image THE PLEASURES OF SLOW FOOD: Celebrating Authentic Traditions, Flavors, and Recipes

THE PLEASURES OF SLOW FOOD: Celebrating Authentic Traditions, Flavors, and Recipes

Corby Kummer, . . Chronicle, $40 (174pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-3379-0

The organization Slow Food—meant to stand as the antithesis to "fast food"—dedicates itself to artisanal and traditional foods. Italian journalist Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food, and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, contribute a brief preface and foreword, respectively. Kummer's history of the organization ably chronicles its growth from a protest against installation of a McDonald's in Rome in 1985 to its current focus on the Ark, "a directory of endangered foods around the world that members rescue by enjoying them." There is a section on 10 of the artisanal products included in the Ark, some coupled together for comparison (for example, there is a short essay on cheese made in the Basilicata region of Italy and another on cheese made in Vermont): these stories provide glimpses into the psyches of people like Jim Gerritsen, who has dedicated his life to growing heirloom potatoes in Maine. Kummer then offers simple, homespun recipes, and proposes that through each one, the homecook can learn "how to imprint that taste on your own dishes." Recipes are arranged from "Old World to New," so there are a few selections from Italy, such as Pesto alla Genovese from the Garibaldi family, who run a farmhouse restaurant in Liguria, and from Ireland—Baked Cheese with Winter Herbs from Tom and Giana Ferguson of County Cork. The vast majority of these 44 recipes, however, come from American restaurateurs such as Ana Sortun (Lamb Steak with Turkish Spices and Fava Bean Moussaka) from Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, Mass., as well as from Alice Waters and Daniel Boulud. And while the recipes from America don't always focus on local ingredients, they do embrace the spirit of Slow Food. This is a noble and handsome effort. (Nov.)

Forecast:This book looks wonderful, and the organization Slow Food is highly popular with foodies these days, but lack of a distinct tie-in to the group on the cover (such as the easily recognized Slow Food snail) may confuse followers.