Georgia Pellegrini

New York blogger and chef Georgia Pellegrini is disdainful of tags like “local” and “sustainable” (she calls them condescending) and distrustful of USDA standards for organic food. In Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $24.95), she instead focuses on artisanal food, which she defines as “dishes created and brought to the table from the surrounding countryside and imbued with local character.” Among her heroes are an earthy and eccentric fungus forager from the Hudson Valley; a Denver distiller who created the first original whiskey recipe since Prohibition; a French fig grower who recommends jujubes as an aphrodisiac; and Seattle’s own Jon Rowley, who’ll also appear tonight. (The legendary seafood expert cooked homemade ratatouille for Pellegrini—no relation to fellow Northwest food icon Angelo Pellegrini.) Pellegrini’s writing can get a tad hammy; in an olive orchard, she muses “that I am tasting and living time.” And though she’s very much a modern media creature, with a Twitter feed and Girl Hunter TV show in development, Pellegrini clearly venerates these aging artisans. She wants to keep their traditions alive in a world where, as an Irish potato farmer says of the younger generation, “If they can’t buy it and microwave it, they’re going to starve.” ERIN K. THOMPSON

Thu., Aug. 26, 7 p.m., 2010

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