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China, A World of Food

by: Claire Hilbert

Minneapolis MN: Clara House Books 2010, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-1-934545-09-6

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 2011 Issue: 18(1) page(s): 21

Children gain confidence, knowledge too, with this volume about the history of Chinese food, China's farming, some culture, religion, holidays, regional differences, and the global influences of the Middle Kingdom. Geared for middle school youngsters, adults can also see and learn things in this thirty-two page tome packed with color photographs and much information about food, social life, and customs of the world's most populous country. Discussed are the New Year, Qing Ming, Dragon Boat Festival, and Moon Festivals, three have a recipe to taste one of their holiday treats.

The book ends with a one-page glossary, most culture-related, some books, a few web sites, also DVDs for further information. There is also a valuable three-column index. Every child and every classroom needs this book. As the rear cover says: Dive into this feast of tasty facts about the food and cooking of China. Reading this book and others by this author withmore than one hundred reference books to her credit, one learns quickly why she has been commended with an award. Well deserved, for sure!
New Year Dumplings I
1/4 small head Chinese cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced pork
2 scallions, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 Tablespoon rice wine
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
20 round dumpling skins
dipping sauce of dilute thin soy sauce (see step five below)
1. Place cabbage mixed excess water.
2. In a large bowl, mix cabbage with pork, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, and ginger.
3. Dust baking sheet with cornstarch, place a teaspoon of the meat mixture in the middle of one dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the dough, fold it in half, then pinch edges between the thumb and forefinger, and place this on the baking sheet. Repeat until all dumplings are made.
4. Bring four cups water to the boil, add all the dumplings and boil them for five minutes, then remove them to a serving bowl.
5. Serve with a dipping sauce made with one-quarter cup thin soy sauce and one and a half tablespoons water.

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