Review: Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini

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A few years back I got the sincere pleasure of meeting Georgia Pellegrini. I recall reading her first book, and I thought for sure this woman is going places. I’m not the only one who sees that. Indeed, only a few years later she’s written three books, and I see her all over the place, for example, as I flip though a hunting magazine at the garage while I wait for my car to get an oil change. I was very excited to get her newest book, Modern Pioneering. Her first two books, Food Heroes and Girl Hunter leaned towards literary and serious, whereas this book is lots of fun. It feels like the book that she’s been wanting to make. It’s colorful, delicious and easy-going. And it’s chock full of recipes, ideas, and know-how.

One of the things I like about this book is the small details. The little bonus bits, like advice from a friend, that are nestled in the sides of the pages. I like the feel of the book–does that sound crazy?–it’s light but solid, and the pages bend like a guidebook. There are lots of easy recipes, like the herb frittata I adapted to include my recent score of ramps, or the amazing sounding (and easy) fig and honey vinegar,  but then there are more challenging things like salmon jerky and bacon. All of these recipes take into consideration that you might not have all the gadgets that professional kitchens have and that you just may live in a tiny apartment. On a shoestring budget.

Though the book is mostly about food, and the bulk of it is recipes, there is also a lot of space devoted to preserving, gardening, foraging and projects for the home. Heck, there’s even directions to make a DIY survival tool kit housed in an Altoids tin. How to read a compass and change a tire, too. These are some of my favorite things. Sometimes if you have the really basic information, then you are truly free to improvise and learn for yourself. Whether it’s knowing which way is north, or how to preserve fruit, Georgia Pellegrini wants to help you find your way.

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(Disclosure: I received this book from Random House to review. All of the opinions here are my own.)

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