Beyond recipes of lesser represented ethnic groups within China, the book also serves as a political travelogue of the challenges of representation that many of these groups face. This book is really more of reading book than a using book. In the West, when we think about food in China, what usually comes to mind are the signature dishes of Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai. These are not fringe pockets of people, they are bona-fide cultures that deserve recognition, rights and identity within their country. Of all of Alford and Duguid's books, this is perhaps the easiest one for cooks from North America to embark on using the equipment they already have and shopping at their usual grocery stores. Thr Part travel log, part ethnography, part cookbook, this book is absolutely stunning. A nice book to look through, but not inspiring to cook from.
It is a beautiful book and travelogue by the authors who have extensively travelled in the area and write the text portions based on their own experiences. I think of this book as a travelogue, a photography book, and a cookbook. Accompanied by more than 300 stunning, full-color photographs by Alford, Duguid and Richard Jung, Beyond the Great Wall is much more than a cookbook. Ingredients and tools that may be unfamiliar are described in the book's Glossary. The photos in the large, heavy book are great. The photography in the book is simply spectacular, bringing both the food and culture into kinetic life.
By giving you their religious background, geographical location, climate and religion, the authors help the reader understand where the food comes from. Beyond the Great Wall shares the experience in a rich mosaic of recipes—from Central Asian cumin-scented kebabs and flatbreads to Tibetan stews and Mongolian hot pots—photos, and stories. The book is sectioned by food type rather than ethnicity, covering everything from condiments and seasonings to fish and meats to drinks and sweets. Want to be a critic? It may simply be that the subject matter is less interesting than that of their other books or it may be that they did not stretch themselves as much when it came to the recipes. They seamlessly weave the stories of their treks alongside recipes for the food they discovered. There are also, with a bit of patience, some amazing bilingual bloggers all around Asia, so I'd probably track those down instead, if you know what you're looking for. The authors include vivid color photographs of food, people and places of cultural significance.
Most of these ingredients can be found at local supermarkets or at the Chinese markets around the Bay Area. That many of the recipes from Inner Mongolia and Tibet share influences from Persia and India show that these people have a history and geopolitical identity. However, the recipes are, frankly, boring. I challenge this sentiment in that the food is a symbol of the origins and identities of the people. The whole work focuses on the other China, the non-Han population.
Synopsis A bold and eye-opening new cookbook with magnificent photos and unforgettable stories. Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid have been traveling in China for more than 25 years. A must-have for every food lover, and an inspiration for cooks and armchair travelers alike. The recipes just didn't seem that interesting to me beyond the cultural information they provide to back up the travelogue part of the book. Dishes have the hint of the familiar, such as Oasis Chicken Kebabs, Tibetan Pork and Spinach Stir-Fry, and Market Stall Fresh Tomato Salsa, while others are less common but equally tempting, including Kazakh Pulao, Steamed Tibetan Momos, and Home-style Tajik Nan. It also includes detailed maps illustrating where thirteen of China's non-Han peoples live, a short guide to pronunciation and placenames and a chart depicting the evolution of China's language families. It's a bold statement, considering that many people myself included have no concievable idea of what Chinese food actually is.
It seems doubtful that there would be so few interesting dishes in all of the non-Han regions of China. It may simply be that the subject matter is less interesting than that of their other books or it may be that they did not stretch themselves as much when it came to the recipes. As for the food, the recipes presented are extremely flavorful and well presented. I also made the Mongolian Beef-Sauced Hot Lettuce Salad, a simple preparation of stir-fried ground beef with soy sauce, garlic and ginger served hot over fresh, raw Romaine lettuce. A handsome and engaging collection suitable for travelers and cooks alike, this book will delight anyone with an interest in this part of the world.
T55A44 2008 Dewey Decimal 641. It's a bold political statement told through an even bolder vector, that of food. Among others, the book spotlights the Uighur, Kazakh and Tajik peoples from the Central Asian deserts of the Silk Road, the Tibetans in the harshly stunning Himalayas, the Mongolian nomads in the northern tundras, and the Dai, Hmong, and Dong tribes who settled in the green and fertile valleys bordering Vietnam. My household likes to try different foods. My husband decided that he wanted a new cookbook and I saw that the authors had done this. That's not because they aren't good, but sometimes I just know I'll never cook from them or I don't like the formatting or graphic choices.
About the Author Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid are cooks, writers, photographers, and great travelers, and are among the handful of people who pioneered the stuffy of food in its cultural context. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, they have witnessed the most dramatic social and economic change in the shortest amount of time. As usual, the photography and writing are great and the way the authors put the food in a broader context makes for a rewarding read. It is often asserted that Chinese food in the United States tastes better than Chinese food in China. Responsibility: Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid ; studio photographs by Richard Jung ; location photographs by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. A must-have for every food lover, and an inspiration for cooks and armchair travelers alike.