The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life

First issued in 1948, when soulless minute steaks and quick casseroles were becoming the norm, The Unprejudiced Palate inspired a seismic culinary shift in how America eats. Written by a food-loving immigrant from Tuscany, this memoir-cum-cookbook Unprejudicedarticulates the Italian American vision of the good life: a backyard garden, a well-cooked meal shared with family and friends, and a passion for ingredients and cooking that nourish the body and the soul.

Although he wrote it nearly 60 years ago, Pellegrini’s treatise on food and life reads like a contemporary paean to the Italian culinary ideal. It is no surprise that the editor of this series of classic food writings chose Mario Batali to write a new introduction to Pellegrini, for the two share a nearly identical philosophy. Pellegrini immigrated to the U.S. from Italy and became a professor of English. At his Seattle home, he cultivated a garden and spread a gospel of simple, fresh cooking that wowed his academic colleagues. Disdaining the pretensions of the midcentury movement for processed, flavorless foods, Pellegrini was a lonely voice for using game, fresh herbs, home-canned tomatoes, and garden vegetables to create simple sauces for pasta. He relished the organ meats that repelled so many others, but he could not cook without his beloved imported Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. In his writings, he recorded recipes, but these are more general techniques than rosters of precisely measured ingredients. Those unfamiliar with Pellegrini will be astounded at his prescience. Mark Knoblauch

“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. And I think he’s right.”
Alice Waters, Owner, Chez Panisse

“Like great dishes, great writing remains in our memory forever. Angelo
Pellegrini’s THE UNPREJUDICED PALATE is a lesson in how to enjoy life
in an elegant and highly civilized way.”
Jacques Pépin

2 Responses to The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life

  1. Bill Huggins July 23, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    Re-Reading it this week…never gets old….

  2. Brian Quigley February 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    I have 2 recollections of Prof. Pellegrini:

    I was auditing one of his Shakespear courses one Spring term. He came excitedly into the class a bit after the bell and said, “I just passed a young couple and it was obvious to see how much that they were in love.”

    On another occasion I remember was him letting everyone in the class know that he wouldn’t be there tomorrow because he and his grandson were going mushroom hunting in the Cascades. He mentioned that he had baked some bread and would take along some wine and cheese.

    I was delighted that he allowed me to sit in that class that Spring.

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