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Taste: One Palate's Journey Through the World's Greatest Dishes|
By David Rosengarten '71, Random House, New York, 1998. 332 pp.
Reading Taste is akin to inviting author David Rosengarten '71 into your home. You know you're going to have fun and learn something, too.
This sumptuous book is more than recipes, more even than a companion to Rosengarten's wonderful and lively Food Network television show Taste. It is a world tour that expands the preparation of dishes into history and culture and certainly the people they sustain.
Rosengarten is a terrific traveling companion. His excitement is innocent, his interests far reaching and his taste exquisite, whether he's championing jambon persillé or offering a better version of pumpkin pie.
"If you join my obsessive quest for gastronomic perfection, we'll all end up as citizens of the world, understanding far more of the lives and cultures around us than we ever thought possible -- and we'll also be eating some really great food," writes Rosengarten in his introduction.
Taste, the TV show, was the Food Network's first in-house production and for more than 500 broadcasts Rosengarten has shared what Erica Gruen, president and CEO, terms "his insights, humor and joie de vivre." It has all translated well to the page. Rosengarten's flair for the dramatic comes across in candid photos from the show and in the explanations that are as much how come as how to. He delves into the problems with ceviche, raw fish with a Latin accent, and offers solutions. He raves about bruschetta, turns fruit into dessert salvation and provides the rundown on gumbo, from its origins to means of thickening.
The book is a personal journey, a memoir of dining experiences from a Brooklyn boyhood to Spanish explorations. Rosengarten writes of evolution, from the "onion-flavored slime" of his first guacamole to creating paella.
Taste is divided into five chapters covering appetizers, in-between dishes, main courses, desserts and wine and other drinks. The criteria is simple, what appears are Rosengarten's favorites and they are delights in many forms, whether it's reading, preparing or consuming. Rosengarten terms it all "intensive food scrutiny" and maintains it will give us all more to talk about when we gather around the dining table. It is a time he argues persuasively we should use wisely -- to nourish "our bodies, our minds, our spirits and our relationships." In the end, it is what makes life "a matter of taste." JH
Last Chance For Justice: The Juror's Lonely Quest
By Laurence H. Geller '67 and Peter Hemenway, National Center for Dispute Settlement Press, Dallas, 1998. 360 pp.
by Jerome BalmuthLarry Geller '67 and Peter Hemenway have written a book which will be of great interest and value to potential jurors, criminal lawyers, prosecutors, judges and -- as it was principally designed -- to the ordinary citizen, all of whom may well wonder why and how juries emerge with the kind of judgments that they do. The book, divided into six parts, with four additional appendices, as well as notes and a glossary of legal terms, gets its purpose and focus from two of the most celebrated and discussed jury trials and verdicts of the last decade, the O.J. Simpson case, and the trial of the Los Angeles policemen charged with the beating of Rodney King; with a decided emphasis and analysis of the latter.
The problem they address is the age-old problem of the relationship of society to the law: how, by Anglo-American law and its procedures, do we arrive at the truth and finally achieve justice? And their partial answer is: by an informed and intelligent jury, knowledgeable and aware of the various pitfalls and confusions, some natural and inevitable and many others designed by lawyers on both sides of the trial process.
To realize this purpose, the authors address certain fundamental distinctions that they wish everyone would heed; these include the differences between "theatrics" and argument, direct and circumstantial evidence, doubt and "reasonable doubt," charges (the indictment) and proof, "actual" guilt and legal guilt, and merely persuasive arguments and genuinely substantive arguments. At the same time the authors consider the important issues of impartiality, "expert" witnesses, instructions (proper and improper) to the jury, and the respective roles of the judge, the prosecutor and the defense counsel in their representations to the jury.
Finally, the authors offer a so-called "blueprint" for "making justice work," including increasing the "pay" for jurors, and making their service otherwise less onerous, restricting media (TV) coverage in the courtroom, while limiting the trial lawyers' speech out of court, and, more controversially, ending preemptory challenges and jury "consultants," as well as eliminating the requirement of a unanimous jury decision in favor of an 11 to 1 requirement for conviction in non-death-penalty cases.
All in all, judges Geller and Hemenway (both are administrative law judges in California) have performed another important public service in making their insights and professional skills readily accessible to the reader, as both citizen and potential juror.
Balmuth is Harry Emerson Fosdick professor of philosophy and religion
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