[ARC] Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

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L’inizio di Kitchens of the Great Midwest mi aveva convinto: una storia di una famiglia in cui il gusto e l’abilità culinaria è rilevante, e la storia della piccola Eva, destinata a grandi cose nel mondo della cucina.

Poi però la storia ha preso altre pieghe, narrazione con i punti di vista di persone che gravitano in qualche modo intorno a Eva – che alla fine per modestia e perfezione mi è pure risultata antipatica – perdendo quello che avevo percepito come linea di sviluppo iniziale della storia.

Il vero problema però è che se sei Italiano intanto parti prevenuto sulla bontà della cucina Statunitense, figuriamoci il Midwest, se poi negli USA sei appena stata hai avvalorato le ipotesi di partenza, mentre sognavi la cucina di casa e guardavi con orrore i menù che ti proponevano la lasagna, noto piatto emotivo che come la mamma non lo fa nessuno al mondo.

Ecco, con questi presupposti a me il romanzo può anche raccontare del sublime gusto di Eva, delle sue skill in cucina, ma alla fine non ci credo: la vediamo crescere dei peperoncini piccanti, assaggiare un piatto di pesce e cucinare specialità derivate da altre cucine (Messicana per lo più) e mettere nel menù della cena più costosa nell’universo le barrette fatte in casa (suvvia, su, che dolce triste in confronto a quelli Italiani). Per non parlare poi di tutte le questioni su dove la verdura è stata coltivata e che tipo di pomodoro e se è o no un ibrido (tra l’altro di dove è originario il famoso San Marzano? comes from Italy).

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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I like the way Kitchens of the Great Midwest begins: a story of a family in which food and taste are relevant, and the story of Eva and her incredible skills as a chef.

Then the story changes, and it’s about Eva but told by the point of view of some people who gravitate around her – and in the end I did not like Eva at all, for all her modesty and perfection – losing what I did perceive as the main narration path of the novel.

However the true issue about this book is the fact that if you are italian you are biased about the goodness of USA food, not to mention Midwest. If you are italian and you did stay in the USA for some time you go from bias to certainty, while looking with horror at menus where they listed lasagna – a clearly emotional dish that no-one is able to cook as good as your own italian mother is.

With these assumptions the novel may tell about Eva and her amazing skills, but in the end I do not believe any of it: we see her grow spicy pepper, taste a fish dish, cook dishes from other cultures (like the Mexican one) and put in the menu of the most costly dinner ever as dessertv homemade chocolate bars (come on, what a sad, sad dessert with respect to the ones we have in Italy). Not to talk about all the issues around where the food was growth and which kind of tomato and is it a hybrid (and yes, the San Marzano comes from Italy).

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal ★★☆☆

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[ARC] Eat, Leo! Eat! by Caroline Adderson

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Leo è un bambino che non vuole mangiare: la nonna inizia così a raccontargli storie legate al cibo che invoglieranno il bambino.

E’ una storia carina e ben disegnata, però sono rimasta perplessa dalla scelta di utilizzare alcuni termini italiani: alcuni termini per denotare alimenti o preparazioni sono piuttosto localizzati geograficamente, quindi il libro non dà elementi particolarmente utili per affrontare un ristorante italiano, inoltre trovo che la scelta di inserire alcune parole in italiano risponda solo a una esigenza di folklore che educativa.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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Leo is a child who does not want to eat: his grandmother then begins telling him stories about the food she cooks in order to interest him and ultimately to persuade him to eat.

It’s a nice story with nice images, but I am perplexed by the choice to insert some Italian terms: some words used to characterize foods or preparations are geographically localized, so the book does not actually help in facing an Italian restaurant. Moreover I think that this choice complies more the need for folklore than an educative one.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Eat, Leo! Eat! by Caroline Adderson ★★☆☆☆½

The Omnivore’s dilemma by Michael Pollan

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Leggi questo articolo in Italiano

In this essay Pollan describes three macro alimentary chains: the industrial one – bound to the fast food concept – the biological one and the one that most reminds the idea of hunt-harvest, the food to eat is the one supplied by oneself.

For each chain the author describes its rules and how it does work by taking as examples various realities he visited while writing the essay. Each section ends with the description of a meal based on the alimentary chain described. Here the author does not want to discredit food in general and promoting a vegan or vegetarian approach, but he helps increasing the awareness on the logic the modern alimentation works on; these logics are not necessarily linked to the cultivation methods, but mostly are connected to social, political and economic issues.

The essay is interesting, despite some parts that for me, not living in the USA, were not particularly engaging. The chains described have in fact a focus on the USA life and alimentary style and only marginally may be transposed to an European or Italian set. Nevertheless I’m convinced of the need of being updated on a theme that has great repercussion on our lives and our health.

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* Il dilemma dell’onnivoro by Michael Pollan ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in Italian

[ARC] 100 Hungry Monkeys! by Masayuki Sebe

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Leggi questo articolo in Italiano

The 100 monkeys are hungry and they have to look for some food in this colorful illustrated book.
In each page there are also simple questions (to find a particular monkey that is doing something or some elements in the background) that allow children to interact with the book itself.
The small book is very nice and proposes a way to keep the young reader attention high.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* 100 Hungry Monkeys! by Masayuki Sebe – ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in English