In my internet search, I happened upon Georgia Pellegrini's blog, in particular, a post about her family's quince trees. I commented giddily on her post, and an exchange ensued, first in words and then in preserves. She offered me a jar of her family's quince butter, and I sent her a jar of my earl grey tea jelly. Since then, I've kept tuned in to what she's up to.
Cooking is at the top of the list, as is hunting, foraging, and all the other correspondent good things. In the end, I didn't find my local quinces, but I found something better. A like-minded soul. And one who has found many other like-minded souls in her quest for the tradition and ritual inherent in great food, and the beautiful stories that come with finding passionate people who keep these foods alive.
Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition, by Georgia Pellegrini, is a book that profiles sixteen such individuals. One of the best things about this food book is that it's about people. People who care deeply about the food they are preserving, whether it's olive oil, or beer, or butter, or figs. And Georgia seems to, in turn, care deeply about these people.
Not only is this a topic worth your time, but it's a great read, too. It's clear and well-written, and not without its artistic charm. I'm a big fan of short stories, and each one of these artisan's stories is a tidy package of literary prose, painting a beautiful scene, here the south of France, there the Puget Sound. And to top it all off, each story ends with a few lovely recipes!
One of which was Lemon Clouds Cheesecake, which I could not resist making. It's just about the simplest, most decadent little pie you've ever met. You must make this for a special dinner or make sure you have pie-eating people around, otherwise you'll eat the whole thing. Unless your diet requires you to eat a good deal of cream and eggs. Then, by all means, eat the whole thing. A simple mixture of lemon curd, cream cheese, and heavy whipped cream folded and turned into a graham cracker crust seemed so innocent at first...Good thing I have wonderful neighbors to help me out in situations like this.
So, why don't you leave me a comment telling me who your personal food heroes are, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Food Heroes by Georgia Pellegrini. The end date will be Wednesday, September 29 at midnight (EST). Please make sure to leave an e-mail address if you aren't linked to a blog, so I can contact you if you win!