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Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I've got a couple of her cookbooks and was looking forward to this one. I picked it up today have started going through it.

The dedication page opens with a quote from James Beard naming Chinese and French the two great cuisines of the world, with some commentary on how Chinese cooking is different.

I liked the quote though there are other cuisines I consider world class as well.

From there, the book has 4 parts, the Chinese Market, and three cooking sections each with a discussion of ingredients, equipment and recipes.

The Chinese Market section is a rough place to start this book, at least as written here. This came across with a strong dose of elitism that isn't present in her other books or what I've looked at in the rest of the book. I like her books generally because her love of the cuisine comes through as well as her stories that illustrate cultural points. This section is not any of that.

And it has little to do with book it seems as I get into the first real cooking section.

Anyway, more to come as I go deeper. Just wanted to vent on this first bit.
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
Each of the remaining sections starts with a discussion of specialty ingredients used in that section. Then straight into the recipes. Some are variations of dishes she's done before, most are something you might be somewhat familiar with from restaurant menus.

I like that she offers recipes and techniques for intermediary flavorings. XO sauce, X0 with abalone, Green onion oil, chile oil, and so on. Often the solids from these are used again in other processes such as specialty stocks. Good reuse and minimal waste.

Some recipes while appearing familiar at first are somewhat more than first appears. She offers a General Tso's with a different sauce than most I've encountered. Hers actually makes more sense as a Chinese dish compared to the others.

And I'm a fan of her recipes in general. I've had good success with a number of them in the past.

As a book to master the art as the title suggests, no. Not much info on technique, regional insight, flavor combination theory and so on. But a good book to add to your cooking library if you want reliable recipes for chinese dishes.
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