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Rachel Perlow

Getting Started...

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Pamela, welcome to eGullet, thanks for participating in this Q&A. I'm curious, how did you get started writing about artisanal Italian food products as an American? Was it hard to get to know the right people? Did you have any problems being accepted? How did you deal with it?

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Pamela, welcome to eGullet, thanks for participating in this Q&A. I'm curious, how did you get started writing about artisanal Italian food products as an American? Was it hard to get to know the right people? Did you have any problems being accepted? How did you deal with it?

Hi Rachel,

sorry for the delay in responding to this, I thought it was about the books.

I started traveling in Italy in 1983, making almost annual treks over here with an empty suitcase and returning back to the states with cheeses, dried mushrooms, oil, vinegar, you name it! Now we have access to so many products that one doesn't need to do their own importing. Even though I wasn't planning at that time to write any books, I was an avid journal-keeper. These notes came in handy later.

My first book about Italian ingredients was Parmigiano! in 1997. As I researched it, I began to realize that there is not one simple explanation about this cheese, that even within the one definition there are amazing variations... cheese from the flat lands, cheese from the hills, from this side of the river or that, different breeds of cows, spring cheeses, fall cheeses, and on and on.

Some of my early contacts for that book introduced me to other people. In other cases, friends told me about small producers they knew, especially longtime friend Rolando Beramendi, who started an import company bringing in only artisanal Italian products. Another super valuable resource has been Slow Food <www.slowfood.com> I don't feel I've had any problem being accepted by the italians, especially now that I am more fluent in the language.


Pamela Sheldon Johns

Italian Food Artisans

www.FoodArtisans.com

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