Thursday, February 10, 2005

Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating

When I was growing up I hated sports. I especially hated any sport where a ball could hit me in the head because usually it did. When I was in the outfield during softball and someone yelled "go farther back" I made it as far back as the library where I hung out until physical education class was over.

At heart, I'm a researcher. I love information. I even love libraries. Being able to get my hands on the information I am looking for is almost as satisfying as the information itself. Though I gave up my career goal of becoming a librarian in around 6th grade, in every career I have surrounded myself with plenty of reference books.

In the culinary field I particularly cherish my reference books. They fall into several categories--the restaurant guides, the books on technique and the resource books. I only have a couple resource books but they are turned to often. My main reference book has been The New Food Lover's Companion, but now there is a new book to share space on my desk--Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating. The subtitle is "how to choose the best bread, cheeses, olive oil, pasta, chocolate and much more". Now if that isn't a come-on, I don't know what is.

The book combines history, shopping info, recipes, tips and so much practical information you'll quickly feel like an expert. If you've ever wanted to know the difference between arborio, carnaroli and vialone nano rice or wanted some recommendations for Spanish goat cheeses or wanted to know what to do with nut oils this is the book for you. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet but they look very straightforward. This is not the be-all end-all most comprehensive guide ever, but it sure is a great start.