Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (September 5, 2000)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #754,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #228 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Asian Cooking > Chinese #839 in Books > Reference > Encyclopedias & Subject Guides > Cooking #1348 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Education & Reference > Reference
`Asian Ingredients' by Bruce Cost is one of those books like Patience Gray's `Honey from a Weed' and Claudia Roden's `New Book of Middle Eastern Food' which gets cited as THE authority on its subject by culinary heavyweights such as Ruth Reichl and Alice Waters. So, in my quest for the perfect culinary library, I really need to read and review this book. I am very happy to say that the reputation of this book is not overdone. It is one of the finest books on culinary ingredients I have seen on either Oriental or Occidental cuisines. The author states from the outset that his objective was not to give us an encyclopedic work. What we get is much closer to some of the finer books on Mediterranean cuisine such as Nancy Harmon Jenkins `The Essential Mediterranean'. In many ways, Cost's book is far more practical, albeit less analytical than Jenkins' work.Cost deals with the fairly homogeneous food world of Japan, Korea, China, Viet Nam, and Thailand. He mentions India as an influence on Thai cuisine, but does not deal directly with Indian cuisine, as it is substantially different from the cuisine of China and the rest of the Far East. The book also does not deal with the cuisine of the Philippines or Indonesia, as the cuisines of these two nations are heavily influenced by European colonization beginning in the 16th century.One of the best things about Cost's book is that it is organized in such a way to make it a pleasure to read for background information. While I have never sat down to read the Larousse Gastronomique for pleasure, I read Cost's book from cover to cover with great pleasure, skipping a very few subjects on which I was very familiar.
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