I've always read a lot of books about food - cookbooks, anthologies, chefs' memoirs - so I thought it appropriate to start a semi-regular book review feature here at MinxEats. First up is a book I only recently read and enjoyed immensely.
Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop
British food writer Dunlop has written a very engaging personal narrative describing her travels in China and her fascination with the Sichuan province in particular, where she learned to cook authentic dishes while enrolled at the Institute of Higher Cuisine.
Having quite a bit of interest in China and Chinese cuisines myself, I was drawn in by Ms Dunlop's story. As she discovers the many tastes and especially textures of Chinese foods, she learns the language and becomes rather Chinese in her way of thinking. She does not explore the country in any superficial manner; rather she absorbs it into herself. The affectionate way in which she describes the food and the people of China make me want to walk in her footsteps and explore that country. And especially the food.
In addition to her delightful memoir, Ms Dunlop has taken her travels and translated them into cookbooks, including Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking and Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province, both of which are on my "must-buy" list.
Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook is a must have for anyone really interested in Chinese cooking. My younger daughter was born in Hunan province and the food there was SO good. I tried recipes labeled Hunan from many sources but they never tasted quite right. Fuschia Dunlop really gets the flavors and captures the feel of modern China. It is a much a book to read as to cook from (which I love).
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