Every Grain of Rice: A Taste of Our Chinese Childhood in America

Ellen Blonder, Author, Annabel Low, Author, Annabel Low, Joint Author Clarkson N Potter Publishers $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-609-60102-0
Low and Blonder, aunt and niece born within 16 days of each other, offer glimpses of their Chinese-American childhood in California in this utterly charming and strikingly illustrated (by Blonder) cookbook. Recipes are for home-style foods but are sometimes complex, like the one for Savory Jeng, a glutinous rice mixture cooked in carefully folded bamboo leaves. Both Green Loofah Squash with Prawns and Long Beans with Ground Pork in Lettuce Packets make use of more exotic vegetables. Chinese New Year's Cake with mashed yams and brown sugar is described as being similar to ""a soft caramel."" More familiar Chinese-American favorites like Fried Rice and Vegetarian Chow Mein are not neglected either. Even stronger than the recipes are the anecdotes provided by both authors, which are personal without being too sentimental: Low remembers her imposing and impressive father, Low Hop Joe, proprietor of the Hong Kong Cafe in Sacramento, and Blonder reflects on the Chinese tradition of never accepting a compliment. This book is both appetizing and engaging. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998
Release date: 05/01/1998
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