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In this fascinating resource guide, he tells you everything you need to know about how to choose top-quality basics that can transform every meal from ordinary to memorable: oils, vinegars, and olives; bread, pasta, and rice; cheeses and cured meats; seasonings like salt, pepper, and saffron; vanilla, chocolate, and tea.
How do you tell the difference between a great aged balsamic vinegar and a caramel-flavored impostor? How do you select an extraordinary olive oil from the bewildering array of bottles on the grocery shelf? Which Italian rice makes the creamiest risotto (and what are the tricks to making a terrific one)? Is there a difference between traditionally made pastas and commercial brands? How do English and American Cheddars compare? How do you make sense of the thousands of teas in the world to find one you love? What should you look for on the label of a good chocolate?
In Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating, Ari Weinzweig provides the answers -- and includes approximately 100 recipes, many collected from artisan food makers, from Miguels Mothers Macaroni to ?LEO (lox, eggs, and onions) to Funky, Chunky Dark Chocolate Cookies.
This book is not only an indispensable guide to pantry essentials, its an enthralling read. Youll visit artisan food producers, learn fascinating facts, find sources for the best brands and food suppliers, and get valuable advice that will change the way you cook forever.
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 Gruyre), 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