The Art of Escapism Cooking: A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors

Mandy Lee. Morrow, $35.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06280-237-8
Lee, who vents about living abroad in her Lady and Pups blog, fuels this stunning cookbook with the ferocity of Sichuan peppercorns and chili oil. Lee, who moved to Beijing when her husband relocated for work, despised her six and a half years there. Only her dogs and her cooking beat back encroaching depression. What could have been a slog is instead an energetic confessional, for Lee is as gifted a writer as she is a cook. Breakfast is too jovial a concept for her, tasting like “denial buttered up with overcompensating enthusiasm,” so the opening chapter is instead entitled For Getting Out of Bed and includes clams over oatmeal with pickled chilies and grated ginger. Declaring that ramen is a “judgement-free zone,” Lee proves the point with truffle lard-infused ramen with fennel pork belly and sauerkraut. “Good food can be remembered badly if shared with the wrong people” is the warning that prefaces a chapter of crowd-friendly dishes including cumin lamb rib burgers. Lee concludes her innovative work not with cocktails but with treats for her beloved dogs, including a birthday meatcake. Desperation breeds contempt, but also confit, in this unique and deeply felt debut. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 06/13/2019
Release date: 10/15/2019
Genre: Lifestyle
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-294088-9
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