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All Under Heaven
by: Carolyn Phillips
New York City NY:
Ten Speed PRess 2016, $40.00, Hardbound
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(2) page(s): 21
This most detailed
exploration of the
largest number of
ever is not about
nine percent of this
the minority populations hardly mentioned even though
she did meticulous research and shares it freely.
This volume should become a classic on your cookbook
shelf for the preparations it offers for your wok. It was
written for those who love Chinese food and want to
learn as much as they can about it. In its more than
five hundred pages everyone can read, enjoy, cook, and
learn from it. In my home it has had many rereads and
there will have many more to come. I will continue to
use it often, delve into it pages, and taste it in mind
and on my taste buds. It sits in close proximity to my
desk and my kitchen, is becoming dog-eared and sticky
thanks to the many post-it pages reminding of things I
never want to forget.
It is subtitled: ‘Recipes from the 35 cuisines of China,’
one can find them grouped in seven sections, five
are geographic, one titled: ‘Basic Items,’ and one the
glossary of one hundred eighty-one items followed by
twenty suggested menus. Obviously, the cuisines are
a condensation of many more including Northwest as
one, ‘Northeast another; the fifty-five minorities with
very few sentences and these about only one, the Uygur.
This review would be remiss if it did not mention chapter
subheadings grouped in five sections, five the number the
Chinese adore and deem lucky.
Owning this book brings lots of information to your
knowledge base and magnificent meals to your table. Simply
reading it is a labor of love. Cooking from it increases your
repertoire and adds different delicious dishes from this one
complex culinary country bringing more different foods
than most cuisines provide in a lifetime.
The first chapter lavishes your taste buds with foods
from Shandong, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and China’s
Northeast. Chapter Two includes foods of Huei Yang,
Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Northern Fujian, Anhui.
Henan, Hubei, and Jiangsu. Chapter Three educates
with tastes of Hakka, Chaozhhou, Southern Fujian,
Taiwan, Taiwan’s Military Families, Hainan, Guangdong,
Southern Guangxi, the Pearl River Delta, Macau, and
Hong Kong. Chapter Four expands knowledge about
Sichuan, Hunan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Northern
Guangxi. And, Chapter Five brings delights from
Shaanxi, Shanxi, Gansu, The Northwest, Inner Mongolia,
After them, the most detailed Glossary ever with food
names in English, Chinese, and Putonggua. Detailed
are their looks, storage, manufacture, use, other names,
and more. These are in seventeen pages, three columns
each. Three others suggest twenty menus for different
numbers of eaters and different places in this vast
country. They are by recipe title and page number so
they are easy and quick when looking for them.
After a page about the author and many
Acknowledgments, the book ends with sixteen threecolumn
pages of a detailed cross-referenced Index.
Within the book’s pages are hundreds of b/w line
drawings, personal narratives, knowledge about China
gleaned from her eight plus years living in Taiwan,
and traveling extensively throughout China. She was
married to a Chinese man who enabled and expanded
her social circle and knowledge base.
|Fried Bitter Melon|
2 pale-green bitter melons, ten to twelve inches long
1 to 2 Tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil sea salt, to taste
1. Rinse the bitter melons, trim off both ends, cut them
cross-wise to half-inch rounds, and do not remove the
2. Heat wok, add the oil, cover the bottom with the slices,
and fry until browned, then shake them loose, turn
them over, and fry the other side. Remove to a serving
plate, fry the rest until all cooked. Then sprinkle with
salt, and serve when hot.