mercoledì, dicembre 11, 2019

Cook, Taste, Learn How the Evolution of Science Transformed the Art of Cooking by Guy Crosby

Cook, Taste, Learn How t
he Evolution of Science Transformed the Art of Cooking by Guy Crosby published these weeks by Columbia University Press, is a wonderful, at the same time interesting excursus in the art of cooking and what it meant for the humanity this act.
Eating is one of the main priorities of the humans; the first one; drinking water and eating with moderation mean preserving the body from dangerous risks.
Starting from the evolution of the man, so with the Homo Erectus and his possibility of increasing more intelligence thanks to a different and more researched food, passing through the art of cooking food thanks to the "invention", discovery of the fire and its potentialities.
A discovery this one in grade of assuring a best way of eating, killing in various cooked food various potential patogenic microorganisms. Humans detect six basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami and fat. 
With the time men understood something crucial: the possibility of planting seeds in grade of giving them food for the rest of the year. This one, the birth of agriculture, a process not only indispensible but wonderfully important for eating well.
Cooking is not just an act of love; if you read a cookbook, you'll understand that cooking is a mixture of chemistry, physics, food science. 
It's only in the 1500-1799 that cooking became an art thanks to the dicoveries of illuminating men like Lavoisier. But it will be during the French Revolution in Paris that cooking became thanks to Careme, who later would have inspired the same Auguste Escoffier, the most legendarious french chef who would have remarked "The fundamental principles of the science of cooking, which we owe to Careme, will last as long as cooking itself." 
The life-story of Careme is a real fairy-tales with a good end. Abandoned by his parents, he started an apprenticeship at a Paris pastry shop working later for Talleyrand during the Napoleon's years and later for many other influential people. He also wrote a book L'art de la cuisine francaise with more than 300 soups and 358 sauces.  It's always France, thanks to the legacy left by Careme that will make the difference in the art of cooking although later Germany became a good competitor. At the moment, we know a lot about food, and eating and what eating means for living a longest life, trying to find good and natural ingredients for great, good, natural dishes.
In the book you will also discovered several delicious recipes.

Interesting, informative, the cover is magnificent as well.

Highly recommended.

I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

martedì, dicembre 10, 2019

Francesco Bartoli L'Uomo, Il Professore, lo Scrittore, Lo Storico

Interesting meeting the one with the author Fabrizio Ciocchetti in Umbertide f
or presenting to all the citizenship his latest book Francesco Bartoli L'Uomo, Il Professore, lo Scrittore, Lo Storico. Ciocchetti told us that he discovered the eminent profile of Bartoli only when close to the bedside of an universitarian teacher of Perugia. Fabrizio needed some informations for another book but this man, before he left, took his hand strongly and firmly asking him a favor: not to forget Francesco Bartoli. Who was this man, thought Fabrizio? The story of this book is a real research; cemetery, the houses where Bartoli lived, archives, books.
Born at the beginning of 1800 in Perugia, Bartoli lived just 60 years. Years plenty of events, this man was an eclectic one who reminded me, while the various orators illustrated the character of Bartoli at that people who lived during and before the Renaissance in grade of spacing in different areas of knowledge.
Bartoli passed at the history becoming famous once dead because...Forgotten and re-discovered by the author of Umbertide. There are not names of streets dedicated to him. 
Nothing. 
Journalist (the profession was pretty different; just few people read and what they read were mainly essays) and writer as well he tried to write a history of Perugia, starting from the Middle-Age. A monumental project dead after the publication of the first book. We don't know why; maybe because of a lack of time, maybe because it would have taken too much energy or just because Bartoli had many other more important projects in his mind. I wouldn't be surprised of it.
Catholic, for all his life experienced this rivality with Bonazzi, another historic character and writer, biographer of Perugia, this one very well known; the second was anti-clearical, a character of left. 
But...The most remarkable idea Bartoli had in his life was to trying to change the devastating situation of Perugia and areas close to the city in terms of education. At the beginning of 1800 the city counted just 12.000 people but only 5.000 had a decent scholarization. For the rest people were not in grade of reading and writing. The genial idea of Bartoli was this one: creating a series of schools for students and adults with the desire of continuing their studies, where and if in the past they could not have attended any sort of school because too poor, because also if pretty little they needed to work in the fields or in the farms of their parents. It was a big success. While Fabrizio illustrated this part of the story I thought at my dad and at that scholastic sessions attended during the evenings for having a piece of paper, because the war had destroyed everything, school included and I thought that maybe we should thank Bartoli for this idea.
I also thought that it's up to people of culture the transmission of knowledge. Sorry, but to me it couldn't be different, although Italy still live a sort of snobish behavior that don't pay. If books is not found in a house it's extremely difficult that people will search for it. That's why it's important sharing and the creation of cultural sites. Men like Bartoli a real blessing.
To me what Bartoli did was absolutely normal; if the establishment of that moment didn't want to better the cultural situation of the territory was symptoms that ignorance was preferred to knowledge because more comfy for the elite.
The author and other people were so surprised that a man of law, a teacher at the university did something like it: teaching to poor people was seen as surprising, maybe for the distance existing in terms of social classes, and because this act "read" by them as "inferior" to the social condition of that man: nothing is more beauty than finding a man in grade of sharing his knowledge, not closed in a pedestal but available for everyone. Sharing culture is the best thing to do. People of culture can't never know what happen if they plant in the mind of people seeds of culture but surely something extremely positive. 

Higly recommended book.

Anna Maria Polidori



venerdì, dicembre 06, 2019

The Art of Ideas Creative Thinking for Work and Life by William Duggan and Am
y Murphy published by Columbia University Press focuses on the importance of developing a great idea for changing the world. And most times, these ideas "arrive" in the mind genially or because people, simply noticed behavior of other people in confrontation with other stressing experience as it happened with the suffragettes in London and later with Tolstoj's way of living. This one was the experience lived by Gandhi.  
Pablo Picasso decided to change in the Cubism his art also thinking that pictures, images at the moment would have given sufficient answer for viewers. It was necessary "the shock of the new" also in art, for trying to bring new life and new attraction and originality to art that differently wouldn't expressed itself well anymore according to his point of view.
Putting together an idea, seeing it clearly, and then projecting something in grade of changing the world as it happened for the arrival of smartphone, or for the pacific movement of Gandhi or for Picasso in art, means also passing through various steps of "understanding". 
Bur which advice for all of us?
Leaving the smartphone alone for some time, socializing, having some dinner with friends, gym, and staying happy. A leader, someone sure of himself/herself won't never permit of putting himself/herself in a position of criticism. Let's stay firm in our ideas and to everyone with a genail idea in his/her mind, good luck! Many more advice for the creative of the now and the future this book is beautiful because richly illustrated, and a great tool for understanding the world and the dynamics necessary for a talent, and for a new idea to become reality, talking its shape thanks to the geniality of a man.

Highrly recommended.

I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Sex in the Brain by Amee Baird

I was anxious and at the same worried to read and review Sex in the Brain by Amee Baird
because in our family we spent terrible and serious experiences connected with brain strokes and other illness so it's a thematic I feel closely.

I found the book not just readable for every reader, also the most prophane ones, but also captivating, humoristic under many aspects, and written with passion. 

The author, a clinical neuro psychologist in fact, keep the topic, she interviewed wagons of people or familiars in contact with people afflicted by various brain illness, or with serious pathologies, in a light way so that people can understand, without to feel too much stress, and at the same time having some fun sometimes.


I had read when I was 17 a psyhologic book where the author, an American one asserted that maybe we won't never discover the most intimate secrets of our brain because brain is our thinkable organ and so he wants to hide to all of us his most profound secrets.

Maybe it is true, but this author thanks to a voyage in the existential experience of people tries to understand the most of it.

We speak of sex in this book an activity that should be in a daily base constantly in our mind, because like eating and sleeping a primordial activity of men. Not only: without sex no one would exist; children are the extension of our existence.

In most cases, when there are illness, brain injuries, or tumors affecting brain, or when there are operations for sorting out difficult cases in epileptic cases, we can assist at a complete different vision and mutation of behavior regarding sex from these patients.

In particular people operated in the right emisphere of brain for removing epileptic brain cells later tends to develope a drastic change of partner, sometimes becoming homosexual, so changing genre and experiencing new way of loving. 
Not only: the situation of difficult epileptic patients with many seizures, and not curable without operation create a condition of dependance and various family members will care for them. When the problem is sorted out, not just the patient will experience a new freedom under many different ways, but psychologically also the various carers who lived with the idea of taking good care of their sick familiars must change their vision and sometimes it's difficult to re-adjust the roles portrayed for so many years or decades.

I this book you'll read the clinic case of a lady who became compulsive regarding a star, collecting all his posters, dvds, etc, not admitting that the man was dead and dreaming of meeting him; there is the experience of a girl who, after that she made love with her partner, she completely forgot where she was. You can think that she wanted to delete that sexual making experience because delusional. No, no: it was a case of amnesia sorted out successfully.They were married, so a solid couple. That sex session you will read caused this problem.

There are also studies conducted through the most important available exams now, and I confess that here I laughed thinking at these "hardcore" MRI's and EEG's in which people during these exams stimulate sexually themselves or with the help of the partner for trying to see the effect that an orgasm has in their brain and the modifications during the orgasm in their brain; which areas are more awoken compared to other ones, and which ones should be "fixed". Differently it's possible to see which areas are giving hyperactivity or create too much sexual sleeping mood in a person.

Our brain still remains the most surprisingly and unknown organ of our body and "cheating" it remains a big fight.

Absolutely beautiful!

Highly recommended.

I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, dicembre 04, 2019

A Calm Fire and Other Travel Writings by Philippe Jaccottet Translated by John Taylor

It's not a common travel writing
book A Calm Fire and Other Travel Writings by Philippe Jaccottet Translated by John Taylor published by Seagull Press, but mostly an intellectual researched experience about travelling; travelling in disgraceful places where unfortunately war and dishamony have been the most important themese during the centuries; the travelling intended by Philippe Jaccottet is not descriptive of places, as you would wait from a common teavel-writing book, but a philosophic approach that will space in centuries, will capture religious thematic, understanding the mutation during the centuries of places and cultures, capturing episodes, reporting, and analyzing; an activity that absorbs the poet in various countries, from Italy to Lebanon, from Athen to Israel and much more, passing through literary remembrances and the research of the past in biblical passages when saint places are described as Bethlem the little town where Jesus was born for example. Sure the present, with the little church created where the moltiplication of loaves took place, the absence of fishermen but just swimmers in the Jordan, the presence of old women in the area, their existence just "dictated" by the holy presence of christian history create a strange harmony and disharmony with the following pages where Saul lived and biblical passages of his existence will be protagonists for then returning abruptly to the reality, writing of a country, Lebanon that means whiteness, the same name of the moon, where snow is falling down "on the rusted carcasses of tanks." Places the one of this area where you have the certainty that people for a while, maybe for little moments, lived in peace, tasted freedom as a precious dish, understood what meant peace, for them fighting back again, building graves that looked like fountains. As the poet writes citing Rumi: "Death breaks the cage, but doesn't kill the bird."
Israel is a peaceless place where the signs of violence are everywhere: whoever live in that place risk the contagion of evil as also wrote Hugo in Les Tragiques. Sometimes is more simple to hating and fighting against someone or some group of people without understanding reasons. All the Middle East is described, with also closest countries, like Italy for giving not just a fresco, but a historical, religious, philosophical touch of these realities and people who live, in a daily dramaticity sometimes.
I found fresh and interesting the first part of the book with the description of Italy; Rome, then Fregene, avoiding Ostia considered immensely ugly; Venice is seen after an additional day spent there as "an unhealthy town full of superficiality, fabricated to delude stupid couples dull by their conventional love and determine, having paid the price, to go into ecastasy about everything."
There is also to mention that the swiss poet remarks the poverty that there is in some corners of Italy.


I thank Chicago University Press and Seagull Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, dicembre 02, 2019

The Scarecrow and the Servant by Philip Pullman

The Scarecrow and the Servant by Philip Pullman is a children's book I bought weeks ago at the second-hand bookstore of the charity Books for Dogs loc
ated in Umbertide.
It is a beautiful tale, plenty of imagination and rich of adventures and good feelings.
The story is this one: once a scarecrow becomes human and escape away from the field where he was living in. 
While mr Cercorelli, the owner of the scarecrow, is searching for him frantically, during all the adventure experienced by the scarecrow, this one is happy and cheerful. 
Without thinking too much of being a scarecrow, so with a physical body different from the one of humans, he just embraces this new state in which he has the possibility of walking, experiencing, speaking, thinking, loving, in a word: living.
Along the way, he meets a little boy called Jack; Jack doesn't have a family and was sleeping in a barn when he decided to go out for a wak. 
The character of the scarecrow fascinated him too much for not following him when the scarecrow asked him of becoming his servant.
The scarecrow's character? Elegant, sophisticated, absolutely dreaming, optimistic and open to all possible adventures that they will meet with enthusiasm and positivity. 
That's also why they will encounter along their way wagons of weird characters sometimes; searching for a job in a farm, they will later join the army; the scarecrow will perform on a stage; they will meet a fortune-teller, but first of all a band of bringants, later a crow and much much more.
Jack is prudent, constantly searching for food, unnecessary to the scarecrow, and more meditative but he won't never forget this weird, and fantastic friend, as you will see and also if reality wouldn't never permit something like that, what it is nonsense in Jack's life became a reality forever for the joy of everyone.

Beautiful! Wonderful Christmas's Gift!

Anna Maria Polidori