Making a Guide to Better Bacon

weinzweig june11 better bacon post.jpg

Photo by Ryan Stiner

I'm not really someone who makes a big deal out of the sort of single (or maybe it's "singular?") events that others are generally so fond of. I'm not bothered in the least by others making those sorts of celebrations into something more momentous. They're just not really my thing. I've never been to any of my own graduations; I don't really like going to weddings or parties, openings or the like.

What I do like a lot is doing the work that leads up to them and the work that follows from them. So while I certainly don't begrudge other celebrating up a storm at their events, I'm personally really much more from the "celebrate all the small things daily" school of life. It's really working on the project, working on life, or working on whatever that's as much fun and as exciting as any particular point along the way.

Which is why, while I'm all for appreciating the moment of the "release" of the new Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon book, it's personally not really particularly any more gratifying than all the other little events that have gone into making it the reality that it soon will be. Hardly anyone believes me when I say this stuff, but it's seriously true. I like the writing and the research, and I even like proofing, helping place illustrations, working on cover designs, rewriting and editing, and a recipe testing, too.

A memorable moment in the already three-year life (to date) of researching, writing, studying, editing, illustration, layout, typography and printing that makes a book.

Looking ahead, I like the stuff that's still to come--even once the book is out, there's all the good work that follows that; actually selling them and signing them and having people read them and cook from them and talk about the recipes and how they served the dish they prepared and all that good work, that, very seriously, also gets me going in good ways. It really is the small stuff--finding out that someone actually made one of the recipes, or tried a new bacon or got inspired to cook something unique and special--is just as big (actually bigger) deal to me as getting the book back from the printer or having a press party.

All that said, even I don't want to deny that last month, there was a memorable moment in the already three-year life (to date) of researching, writing, studying, editing, illustration, layout, typography and printing that makes a book. 15 good folks here got together to assemble the little pre-release, hand-done, 170 copies of the Anarchist Edition of Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon.

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Photo by Jillian Downey

If you didn't read the first stuff Corby put up there in his post a few weeks ago, the formal release of the book will be July 1 (we're self-publishing locally so it probably won't show up in most of the places that books are supposed to show up in). The idea to do this small extra edition came out of my interest in anarchism and in historical study of the late 19th and early 20th century anarchists who often put out small, self -published little bits of writing to promote their views and get their ideas out to the people in a grassroots kind of way.

Anyways, since the formal proper, bacon book wasn't going to be ready from the printer for another six weeks, and since I was speaking about the book at the Ann Arbor Book Festival this past weekend, and since I like hard to find, unique, different and interesting items, we decided to put this thing together ourselves. Cover silk screened onto Kraft cardboard, extra preface added in and printed on black paper (the anarchist color), extra recipe, numbered, signed and all that good stuff that I, at least, like a lot. It is of course, a cool thing that the book is finally "out" after all these years of work. But really the reason that Wednesday evening was so memorable for me was because of Jan Longone.

Presented by

Ari Weinzweig is co-founder of Zingerman's Community of Businesses, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is also the author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating. More

After graduating from University of Michigan with a degree in Russian history, Ari Weinzweig went to work washing dishes in a local restaurant and soon discovered that he loved the food business. Along with his partner Paul Saginaw, Ari started Zingerman's Delicatessen in 1982 with a $20,000 bank loan, a staff of two, a small selection of great-tasting specialty foods, and a relatively short sandwich menu. Today, Zingerman's is a community of businesses that employs over 500 people and includes a bakery, creamery, sit-down restaurant, training company, coffee roaster, and mail order service. Ari is the author of the best-selling Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating and the forthcoming Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon.

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