For food lovers, Georgia Pellegrini’s Food Heroes is the best kind of book. Within its pages are the remarkable stories behind some of the world’s best loved food (and beverage) and delicious recipes to boot. In a world where we are increasingly detached from the sources of food and the processes by which it is made, this book is a delightful reminder of the artisans who never left their roots and the people who gave it all up to get back to them. Pellegrini’s vignettes are an affirmation that the passion of an artisan, be it beer and bees or salami and seeds, matters not only to them but to us all.

In Norway, a man named Hans-Otto is breeding strong bees with scientific precision to combat a mysterious epidemic called “colony collapse disorder.” Without bees, which pollinate most of the world food sources, our world is in serious trouble. In Ghana, Steven Wallace’s single-source chocolate factory has given hundreds of jobs to locals. They are “among the highest paid in the country” and have access to free uniforms and meals to subsidized housing and free medical care. This chocolate is not only singular in taste and quality, it’s also making a difference.

As I said to a friend the other day, Pellegrini’s writing makes me want to step into the pages of the book, to see what she saw and taste what she tasted. I couldn’t help but feel jealous as she drank German beer stored in wooden barrels and ate long-forgotten varieties of heirloom potatoes. But her writing is so wildly descriptive, you see and taste vicariously. Although I now aspire to go on my own culinary pilgrimage or become a culinary artisan myself, her short stories were like a nightly vacation as I read before bed. For now, that will have to be enough.

Last week I made the Bamberg Stuffed Onions for dinner. Aside from hollowing out onions (I cried more than when I watch The Notebook), this was such an easy dinner. What’s not to love: onion, bacon, ground pork, fresh parsley and bread crumbs. The stuffed onions were incredibly flavorful, and as I drizzled the beer sauce over the onions I couldn’t help but think of Germans who had done the same that night (except my beer was from a Manhattan corner shop and theirs was from a six hundred year-old German brewery).

This book delivers the backstory we all need to hear: the story behind the food and the recipe.


To win a copy of Food Heroes, just tell us: Who is your food hero? Giveaway ends Friday, November 19th at 6pm EST.

The winner is comment #37 – Holly H!  My Grandma Jewell, she was able to always put the most amazing meals together and made it look so easy. She made you feel like you were so special. No one can ever compare to her. I miss her dearly.