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TOPICS INCLUDE: A book of this magazine's great articles; Chinese herbs; Is bok cai correct?
Letters to the Editor
Winter Volume: 2013 Issue: 20(4) page(s): 8
FROM HELEN CHIN via e-mail:
Flavor and Fortune has a wealth of important information in each issue. It would be wonderful if any Chinese food enthusiast interested in your magazine could own and peruse a volume of its articles and features, instead of having to search through individual issues. Have you ever considered compiling all issues in a book? It would not entail much more work in terms of production or editing. You could, for example, just present the issues chronologically in a single volume, perhaps collected in five or ten year intervals. Please do consider pursuing this option. It would be a great way to keep the contents of the magazine available and accessible for posterity.
HELEN:Thank you for the compliment. Please understand that until a publisher comes up with a contract, you and everyone else, subscriber or not, can use this magazine’s website and the index at www.flavorandfortune.com Articles and features in recent issues are not there and will not be as long as hard copy remains. For your and everyone’s information, preparation, printing, and shipping cost more than ten thousand dollars for an entire year’s worth of issues. As to your second question, yes, all staff do work pro bono, myself included.
m BETTY in LOS ANGELES CA:
Read you were to speak at Stony Brook University about herbs and a friend who could attend told me you served and gave out eight recipes for the herbs you spoke about. It was too far for me to get to and so I was disappointed. She said there were not enough recipe sets and she did not get one. Can you share?
BETTY: Not only can, but will but not in this issue, in the next one. Thank you for asking. Must confess, I often wonder how wide a net is cast from a single event. Your letter indicates it wider than imagined. That April 10th talk was sponsored by the Charles B. Wang Center, the Confucius Institute, and the Special Collections of the University Libraries. For the record, it was titled “Chinese Foods and Herbs, Available, Fresh, Healthy, Natural, and sustainable” and was posted on the Stony Brook web site beforehand. I do a talk on a different topic there every year in April. Do check out their site early next spring, it is free, and all a re welcome to come, listen, learn, and taste. At this one, I did raise questions about fast food chains saying they offer healthy food. Do they really provide healthy sustainable foods or are they simply trying to capitalize on abstract concepts when serving meals of highly processed ingredients shipped long distance to their many outlets? The talk did contrast some aspects of western fast foods with time-tested nourishing traditional Chinese ones. I did hand out eight recipes for eight of the sixteen herbs discussed, and these eight recipes were tasted after the talk. In addition, eight other herbs were discussed. All sixteen were passed around as was a page showing them in color, their names in Chinese and English, and the attributes that traditional herbal practitioners say they provide. Six are shown on this page.
From LEWIS via e-mail:
Which is correct, calling 'bokcai' a Brassica or a Cruciferous vegetable?
LEWIS: Times are a-changing in the plant world as they are in the people world. Botanists will agree that many family names have changed. The beloved greens you mention are in the mustard family, and once known as cruciferous vegetables, in the Cruciferae family. Nowadays, Brassicaceae is the correct and current term. The vegetable you mentioned is now better known as Brassica oleracea. This family’s flowers have four petals and six stamen two of which are recessed, etc. And yes, they are pollinated by insects with many new species from cross-pollination. Other newly named families are those related to carrots once known as Umbelliferae, now better known as Apiaceae. Their relatives include but are not limited to cilantro, celery, and fennel. Beans once known as in the Leguminosae, are now in the family called Fabaceae. Mints were members of the Labiatae family and now their family name is Lamiaceae. I am sure there are others, but am not a botanist. Do check old and new names on the web.