Mmm… Food


Week 10: Heat by Bill Buford (Where’s Week 9 you ask? I’d like to know too)
March 12, 2009, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Books, Restaurants

It happens every year.  I should come to expect it, but it still trips me up.  I’ve fallen behind on my reading.  I made it to Week 9.   The redeeming part is that I fell behind on my Food reading.  While I did not complete my food book (I was on vacation remember) I did finish the second half of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and also listed to Chokeby Chuck Palahnuik on CD.  So two books in one week really… just not food related.  I do hope to make up for lost time and back read for Week 9, but…

 heat

Week 10 – Heat {An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany} By Bill Buford

Ilana is my reigning champion for book recommendations.  SHOUT OUT!!!  This is the third on the list of ones she suggested and she has chosen a winner.  I guess when your friend is a Creative Writing Grad Student who left the culinary world of catering and restaurants though, recommending good food books comes naturally. PROPS!!

This book was very entertaining, and while focusing on a wide variety of experiences, he strings them all together in a cohesive manner that keeps the reader interested.  Never having worked in a professional kitchen (Taking orders on a pre-printed pad at Rollies Hot-Dogs when I was 17 doesn’t really count) I am still amazed at the incredible effort, blood sweat and tears that go into churning out food at a restaurant.  In Heat, we get a glimpse into the inner working of Mario Batali’s Italian restaurant Babbo.  We witness the madness of learning to work the grill station.  Moving up from prep work to want to make the Pasta.  What a task.  Overwhelming really.

In addition to all the effort and work Bill puts into learning food and cooking at Babbo, he also makes incredible efforts to complete training that Mario Batali completed, by traveling to Italy and learning pasta from the same woman that Mario did, and then travelling to Tuscany where Batali’s father learned butchery from Dario and the Maestro.  Super fascinating.   

My love for Italian food too makes me love this book even more.  The day I finished it I met up with my old roommate Stacia for dinner, where we dined at Spacca Napoli on these fine pizzas. 

pizza-stacia-002

pizza-stacia-001

The menu there is all in Italian and the waitress helped us out with explanations adding “The owner is the only one who speaks Italian, the rest of us have to figure it out along with you”  HA!  But it seemed so fitting in a pizza place where the owner spent a great deal of time in Italy learning pizza and then imported his crazy expensive wood-burning hand crafted stove to replicate the tastes for here in Chicago.  Cheers to you!!!  And to any others out there like Bill Buford who go to the source to learn the original. 

4 Stars.  Read this book.

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