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Un Tour Gastronomique de la Chine
by: Georges London
Georges London 2011, Hardbound
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 2012 Issue: 19(1)
Rare is the Chinese cookbook in French that is an original. Ever so many are translations of volumes published elsewhere. Even more rare is a Chinese cookbook in French about Chinese regional cuisines.
Not so this eighty-eight recipe Chinese cookbook offering regional recipes from sections of China divided by compass. There are dishes from the North-east, South-east, South, and the West and Central parts of China. They are titled in the text and in the Table of Contents in French and Chinese, though the recipes are only in French. They are delicious; get yourself a translator. After them, every chapter has a regional menu using a handful of them.
Though my French, spoken through High School and a few adult years is rusty, the depth of my Chinese cooking know-how allowed me to cook them. I enjoyed every one prepared.
Beginning with a simple introduction, this cookbook discusses four of China's geographic regions and eight major cuisines, and has a map of the latter. There is good information about equipment, how to hold the cleaver, assorted preparation techniques, and ingredients. These enable even a novice cook, or a novice French language student, to cook the recipes. Every one indicates the region it comes from or is best known in. One does need to learn what the small illustrations before them mean. For example, the crab is for dishes from the southeast. Others are for ease of preparation, if spicy, or loved by the author. Little learning is needed for the sentence or two before each recipe advising when the recipe was introduced to China or something else about it.
After the recipes, the author provides one menu with six dishes for many places in China, another of seven complicated dishes, a recipe list by main ingredient, and a sixty-plus ingredient glossary. For those living abroad, there is a useful Belgian, Canadian, French, and Swiss set of addresses, three web sources, eleven English-language cookbooks for further recipes, and a four-page two-column index. The volume ends with an acknowledgment page, and two others telling something about the author. What it does not say is that he has done work on Chinese cuisine in the French version of Wikipedia. Want to read more about this book in French, check out www.cuisines-chinoises-regionales.com