Living and Cooking Vietnamese: An American Woman's Experience

Paula Tran, Author, Belisle, Illustrator Corona Publishing Co. $10.95 (149p) ISBN 978-0-931722-79-0
Tran offers an intriguing selection of some 80 recipes--such as lemon beef salad and shrimp crepes--that are adapted for preparation in American kitchens but preserve their basic Vietnamese character, reflecting Chinese and French influences. Most recipes are direct and easy to follow, although some require unusual ingredients, notably nuoc mam , the salty fish paste often employed in Vietnamese dishes. Cooks also may need access to an Oriental or specialty shop for such items as clear edible rice paper for shrimp rolls. There are a few challenges as well: only brave hosts will point guests toward hot cooking broth and tell them to prepare their own beef fondue with vinegar. A number of recipes call for MSG, but this can be omitted, says Tran, ``with little effect.'' In a brief but wryly entertaining text, Tran, an American, describes meeting her Vietnamese husband (at a karate school in Texas), their Buddhist wedding, the traditions surrounding the birth of her first son, and the challenges of gaining acceptance into her husband's family while learning the basics of their culture. Tran teaches English at the University of Texas. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
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