Secrets of the best from Zingerman's 

Last year's New Year's resolution: Eat smart. Since we know how well that worked, this year's should be: Eat informed. And a new book sheds various lights on what we eat and how to do it well.

"Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating" by Ari Weinzweig (Houghton Mifflin; $19.95) is a hefty tome devoted to choosing the best: bread, olives and oil, pasta, cheeses, chocolate and so on. Weinzweig, founder of the famed Zingerman's Deli in Michigan, points out how to hone in on the ultimate version, whether bought or homemade.

From the history of Jewish rye bread to the differences between Italian finocchiona and Spanish chorizo sausages, every section has a gem of knowledge along with concrete buying information. Why does balsamic vinegar cost $50 an ounce? What does really good chocolate sound like? Do people really eat anchovies? Here are all the answers.

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