Fried Green Tomatoes with Flank Steak. Pan-Fried Prawns in Ketchup Sauce. “Stand Back” Chicken. Turkey Jook. Sticky Rice with Sausage and Taro Root. These are the foods that say “family” and “home” to Ellen Blonder and Annabel Low. In Every Grain of Rice they have collected more than 120 outstanding recipes for the delicious homestyle and special occasion dishes they remember so vividly from their childhoods but have rarely found in conventional Chinese cookbooks. Studded with recollections from their years as part of an extended Chinese-American family and with Ellen Blonder’s exquisite watercolor drawings, it is a remarkable debut from two major new talents on the culinary scene.
An aunt and niece who are separated in age by only 16 days, Annabel and Ellen were raised virtually as sisters, dividing their time between Ellen’s family farm and the renowned cafe where Annabel’s father was chef/proprietor. From him, and from their mothers, aunts, and uncles, Ellen and Annabel learned to make such satisfying everyday fare as Steamed Minced Pork, Wonton Soup, and Uncle Bill’s Chow Mein, as well as more elaborate dishes as Sweet-and-Sour Whole Fish and festive bamboo-leaf-wrapped Jeng. Special occasions and family gatherings were marked by steaming trays of dim sum and pork-filled Bao, Low Hop Joe’s glistening Soy Sauce Chicken, and the magnificent Boned Stuffed Duck. In chapters ranging from “Comfort in a Bowl” on soups and jooks to “Fish and Seafood” and “Bearing Gifts,” which features foods for holidays and family celebrations, the authors cover the range of traditional Chinese cooking as it was prepared in their childhood homes. The more than 120 recipes and variations offer careful explanations of unfamiliar techniques along with suggestions for replacing hard-to-find ingredients and lowering the fat count of many dishes, and each recipe and story is illustrated with Ellen’s delightful watercolor paintings.
With a comprehensive glossary of ingredients and detailed listing of equipment and techniques, Every Grain of Rice is a perfect introduction to the art of Chinese cooking and a moving celebration of food and family.
About Ellen Leong Blonder
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Published May 26, 1998
by Clarkson Potter.