Book Thirteen: The Unprejudiced Palate

The Unprejudiced Palate, Angelo Pellegrini

I have so many things so say about this book, that I honestly don't even know where to start. I had been looking forward to reading it for quite a while, since I heard some wonderful things about it--"It's a classic! Way ahead of his time!"--but reading it felt like punishment. Seriously, it's like spending two weeks with some guy who lectures you on what an idiot you are, how you are a failure because you don't grow all your own vegetables and make your own wine (I'm not kidding--who makes their own wine?), you don't drink enough or you drink too much and in the wrong places, and how America blows. While I can imagine it would have been interesting to hang out with this guy and eat all his tasty food and tour his expansive gardens, I can't imagine that there wouldn't be any minute of silliness or fun or joy.

About half way through the book, in an effort to make it even mildly palatable, I imagined it being read by Dwight Schrute from "The Office", and suddenly it was hilarious. But really, it had nothing to do with Angelo Pellegrini at all. In fact, I suppose anything read by Dwight Schrute would be pretty funny. The only redeeming elements came in the final few pages, when he talked about the future of food and how our country really does need to make some serious changes toward sustainability and think more about our food and where it comes from. I think these must be the passages that all the praise of this book is based on.

Speaking of praise, it sometimes pays to go back to the blurbs and read between the lines. Take this back cover blurb from Alice Waters:

"I have always thought that Angelo Pellegrini misnamed his charming but opinionated book. It should have been called "The Prejudiced Palate," because he is so absolutely sure and unwavering in his vision of how to live a beautiful and delicious life."

Is this really praise? Even the word "charming"--which is often used to describe rundown little houses in real estate listings or your boyfriend's old Southern grandmother who is subtly but persistently racist--isn't really praise, is it?


Blogger Chris said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 23, 2008 at 11:05 PM  
Anonymous quinn said...

ha! best book review ever.

April 24, 2008 at 4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of people make their own wine and I'd have to say that an invitation to the dinner table at the Pellegrini house was much in demand for the joy and silliness not to mention top notch erudite conversation.

November 27, 2008 at 3:28 PM  

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