Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Review: My China, by Kylie Kwong

I treated myself to this weighty tome for Christmas, being a fan of Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking, which launched my series Cooking with Kylie.

My China's subtitle is "A Feast for the Senes" and that it definitely is.

Kylie is a fourth generation Chinese Australian, born in Sydney. This book is her homage to her Chinese heritage, and recounts her travels through much of China and Tibet, cooking and eating as she goes. She starts off in the village of her ancestors, where she is greeted like a long lost relative and where she cooks up the first of many feasts featuring local ingredients in rustic cooking conditions. My China takes the reader everywhere: up the Yangtze, along the Silk Road, the Great Wall, to the great cities of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing, to Lhasa in Tibet, and to a place that really fascinates me Xi'an, where the Terracotta Army resides. Interspersed with food history and stories, are cultural vignettes featuring Chinese history written with Kylie's sense of wonder, respect, and enthusiasm.

Kylie's descriptions of her experiences are a feast for all the senses. She is a great writer, I discovered, incorporating sound, taste, touch, and smell into her narrative so well I could imagine myself there with her. And there are plenty of large, colourful photos to feast the eyes on.

There are over 80 new recipes in this book, and I have yet to try them. But I will!

This is a great companion book to Beyond the Great Wall, which I reviewed here. There were many similarities between the two books, both being a great mixture of travelogue, photographs, recipes, and personal stories.

If you are fan of Kylie Kwong and Chinese food, history, and culture, you cannot go wrong with My China!

4 comments:

Bob said...

I've been meaning to pick up some books on Chinese cooking actually. Thanks for the tip!

Tia said...

hmm... i don't really ulike her on TV but maybe i'll like the book better.

Future Grown-Up said...

I've heard good things about her...please do share your cooking adventures when you try out her book. I need to learn how to cook chinese and stop spending a fortune on takeout.

Pierce said...

I read this today and couldn't wait to tell you, I asked for the book from our library. You have always made her cookbook sound so good!

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