Thirsty Reader Book Review: “The Telling Room” by Michael Paterniti


“The Telling Room” is not an easy book to categorize: Is it a post-modern travelogue, a footnote of food history, or a treatise on the virtues of the Old World? At any given moment, “The Telling Room” might be any one of these things, but above all else,  author Michael Paterniti’s book remains a culinary cautionary tale.

Billed as “A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese,” “The Telling Room” profiles the everyday agrarian life of former Spanish cheese maker Ambrosio Molinos, whose passion and taste for simpler times proves both inspiring and woefully short-sighted.

The consummate Castilian, Ambrosio is the creator of Páramo de Guzmán, an artisanal sheep’s milk cheese that embodied the very pinnacle of culinary craftsmanship throughout the late 80s and early 90s (earning several prestigious international awards along the way), but which has since become somebody else’s mass-produced, middle-of-the-road, [… read more …]

February Contest: Can You Name the Curry Joint Depicted Below?

Not from your grocer's freezer: Fish curry, with accoutrements.

Not from your grocer’s freezer: Sea bass curry, with accoutrements.

Falling on a Tuesday this year, Valentine’s Day would’ve been my usual day off this week, but naturally, the kitchen at Étoile remained open for business. As expected, the restaurant was slammed with two-tops that night, but it was good fun cooking all that food for folks. Personally, I was also grateful for the overtime, but my truncated weekend didn’t leave much time or energy for restaurant reviews. Instead, I’ve taken the easy way out by deciding to run another contest. Within this post, I’ve included two lunch photos from my one-day weekend: Obviously, we’re dealing with the cuisine of India, and the paper service-ware should be a dead giveaway for anyone who has visited this popular Berkeley establishment (knowing this restaurant is in Berkeley should also narrow the choices down to about six dozen Indian joints). At [… read more …]