Cosmin Dragomir, foreword to the volume The sarmale collection and other culinary stories

Vgros The sarmale collector and other culinary stories is available for pre-order and will arrive in the first half of December. You can pre-order the book here. Until then you can read on the word before:

The rules say I don't have to start with a denial, but I have to get this straight from the start: This is NOT a book about sarmales, just like The breakfast curator it wasn't just about the breakfast. The good part is that we have both of them. And, NO, it's not that book I keep talking about either: The Universal Encyclopedia of Sarmals. The time for that one has not yet come, that is, I lack many thousands of euros for the research and a few months to finish it. Don't worry, you'll find out when the time comes.

The charm collector it's a title like any other, inspired or not, for an anthology of gastronomic texts. It's neither a marketing gimmick – on the contrary – nor misleading, but a metaphor I've fallen in love with, and I'm the type who has few and fixed ideas. It is, as was the case with the previous book, the title of an article from The old dilemma and the one that I thought was the most suitable for this cover. If it was a book with only opinion texts, I would have asked Radu Paraschivescu to give me the rights to the superb wording "foods and itching".

The charm collector it is, as I have written everywhere, a collection of texts about gastronomy published in the last seven to eight years through various media. They are not all, although it seems that way from how thick the book is. Maybe not the most successful of them either, but it's a selection.. I have no idea if I wrote a lot or badly or a lot and badly. I know for sure that I still have a lot to write and that I am trying to do it better and better. Some of the texts, I say not very many, also appear in The breakfast curator, but I think they fit here too. I hope you won't think that I have plagiarized myself for the sake of the thickness of a book, the material still exists, but some articles may be worth re-reading in a different context.

The charm collector e expresia fixațiilor mele, a temelor predilecte. Sunt pasaje întregi în care mă repet și sper să nu mi-o luați în nume de rău. Unele lucruri trebuie (sau doar eu consider asta) repetate și/sau comunicate pe toate căile posibile. Unul se referă la identitatea noastră gastronomică, alta la autorarism culinar. Dacă mă știți, știți și de ele… 😀

Collecting, selecting and rereading the texts in this book I realized that I have written quite a lot and, at the same time, very little. There is so much information missing, topics not addressed, ideas not developed or only partially discussed, that I realize I am only one step ahead and I am not Neil Armstrong. I hope that the editorial appearance is a kick in the ass, so that I am two steps ahead. The marathon is just beginning. Moreover, I realized that in the last two years I have written more than I have read. I do online research daily, and I even happen to be thorough sometimes :D, but there are many books collected around the house whose covers judge me from the shelves. And this while my Amazon shopping cart costs about a thousand euros and I don't dare to press "order". I hope to have the comfort, the respite, the mood and even the ambition to resume my reading habits.

The charm collector it is an uneven card. The texts have been adapted to the editorial requirements of the publications or websites that hosted them in the first phase. And the target audience is different, so not only the length, complexity and approach are incomparable, but also the choice of topics, which is why I felt the need to put them on different heights, so that I have the feeling that some chapters are conceptual.

Now that I've gotten rid of this book, I can return to my other publishing projects, and here I mean the ones I already have in mind - not least, but in June this book wasn't scheduled either. For example, I am writing this text after a round of discussions with ChatGPT for the volume: Gastronomatrices – culinary discussions with AI, which is an experiment book. It's more about 2023 than gastronomy, it's more about the future than the past. It follows On the cusp of a hangover – a history of belly soup and more, a research that started from an article that seemed to never end. It's a bet that I seem to win: many dozens of pages dedicated to a single dish should prove both the complexity of the field and the breadth of possibilities. I would also like to publish a book of the podcast interviews Tasty memories – it's already been three years since I've hosted these discussions and I think an extension in classic form is welcome. I'm waiting to flesh out the #balkanstastesandmore project with my colleague Cristian Iohan Ștefănescu. Normally, by 2025 we should publish one, two (at least) books about this: a travelogue in the Balkans and a regional study of comparative gastronomy; currently we collect thousands of kilometers, experiences and hundreds of cevapcici tasted. To these I add two other editorial projects - one with Adriana Sohodoleanu, another with Cezar Ioan - about which not only am I not mandated to disclose, but they have not yet passed the initial phase: the idea. There would be more Index of potential local culinary brands (provisional title), another project thought together with the two mentioned above and last but not least The Universal Encyclopedia of Sarmals… Looks like I have a lot of work to do. If you want to support these things, don't be shy to write me on

I would also like to thank those who in one way or another helped this book, often even through unexpected ways: Ioana, Adriana, Oana, Nicoleta, Mihnea, Cezar and Iohan.

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