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Beyond the Great Wall Hardcover – May 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan; First Edition edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579653014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579653019
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 1.2 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Alford and Duguid, authors of the acclaimed Mangoes & Curry Leaves, explore the food and peoples of the outlaying regions of present-day China, historically home to those not ethnically Chinese. Part travel guide and part cookbook, this collection looks at the cultural survival and preservation of food in smaller societies including that of the Tibetan, Mongol, Tuvan and Kirghiz peoples, among others. The authors include vivid color photographs of food, people and places of cultural significance. Recipes are tantalizing and mostly simple, and ingredients are surprisingly easy to find. The book is sectioned by food type rather than ethnicity, covering everything from condiments and seasonings to fish and meats to drinks and sweets. 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. Peppered throughout are the authors' personal stories, which provide insight into each culture. 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jeffrey Alford is a writer and photographer based primarily in northeast Thailand and Cambodia. He plants and harvests rice each year; helps raise frogs and several varieties of fish; and happily struggles along in three languages: Central Thai, Lao Isaan, and Northern Khmer. His forthcoming book, to be published in 2014, is tentatively titled How Pea Cooks: Food and Life in a Thai-Khmer Village. His earlier books, all co-written with Naomi Duguid, are Flatbreads and Flavors;HomeBaking; Seductions of Rice; Hot Sour Salty Sweet; Mangoes and Curry Leaves; and Beyond the Great Wall. Jeffrey is currently developing a series of intensive culinary tours through northeastern Thailand and western Cambodia (the Angkor Wat area) under the name of Heritage Food Thailand.



Naomi Duguid is a writer, photographer, great cook, and intrepid traveler who explores the world through the lens of food. She is a contributing editor of Saveur magazine and writes the bimonthly “Global Pantry” column in Cooking Light. Every winter she conducts an intensive cultural-immersion-through-food course in Chiang Mai, Thailand, called ImmerseThrough, and also guides a food-focused tour to Burma. Duguid is the author of, most recently, Burma: Rivers of Flavor. Her earlier books, all co-written with Jeffrey Alford, are Flatbreads and Flavors;HomeBaking; Seductions of Rice; Hot Sour Salty Sweet; Mangoes and Curry Leaves; and Beyond the Great Wall. Her weekly posts at www.naomiduguid.blogspot.com explore ideas about food and life; she can be reached at naomiduguid.com. Her next project is a book that celebrates Persian culinary traditions, tentatively titled The Persian World.


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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend them to those who want authentic Asian and Indian cooking recipes.
Reenie
I have all of their books.......visually stunning, great recipes, as much a travel book as it is a cookbook !!.... and I'm a sucker for cookbooks anyway.
mark mckenna
Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China Another wonderful book from these authors.
Sky Flower

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As the Introduction states, the world's borders would look very different if based upon food and culture. Chinese Muslims don't eat pork, and in rural Tibet, chicken is considered inedible. There are papayas in the south of China, and millet in the hot arid regions.

Beyond The Great Wall layers many elements on a strong foundation of interesting recipes - maps, food anthropology, and travel notes, generously illustrated with the authors' truly spectacular location photos, and evocative studio photos by Richard Jung, each carefully captioned.

The recipes require few special ingredients, and when they do, the resulting combination is a revelation, such as chile paste spiked with Sichuan peppercorns, or pomegranate-marinated lamb kebabs. Each recipe is thoughtfully introduced with suggestions for meal combinations, the dish's origin, thoughts on timing and ease of preparation. Eating your vegetables will be more interesting with new takes on salad, soup and vegetable sides. The Beef-Sauced Hot Lettuce Salad was a huge hit in my house when I was recipe-testing for the authors.

The bread chapter includes flatbreads, a loaf baked in a lidded pot, and little stuffed breads. For experienced noodle-makers, the variations in shaping and saucing are fascinating. For those new to handmade noodles, the pinch method in Earlobe Noodles provides an easy introduction.

The book doesn't pretend to be a catalog of "authentic" recipes, which would have us searching for riverweed or camel meat, and drying yak cheese on a yak-dung fire. Rather, this is a cookbook for those who want to enjoy foods and flavors from that part of the world, respectfully translated into the Western kitchen.
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Doc Dave VINE VOICE on May 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Despite the glossy cover, this cookbook has been over 20 years in the making. It dates back to the authors' travels in tibet in the 80s, and then when plans for the book were made by their book agent, of further research trips in the 00s. Having visited China during the same timeframe dating to the 80s, I can attest to the wonderment of discovering the "other" China, of meeting caucasian chinese citizens from turkic tribes who speak perfect mandarin, of tasting perfect kebobs and roasts from mongolian and muslims cooks, of the religious mysticism of tibet. and it is this exotic "other" china on which this book is based on.

Since authentic cookbooks of even relatively well known minorities such as tibetans are hard to come by in english (and I suspect in chinese as well), it is a real treat to discover the cuisines of the uighurs and the mongols, and the dai and the hani, albeit for the most part reverse-engineered by the authors. Interspersed between the recipes are the authors' travel anecdotes of varying quality.

Indeed, it is their traveller's perspective passing through and re-engineering the dishes that admittedly exposes my own bias and ultimately my reservations about the book. With the bar for cookbooks set ever higher, the gold standard is for ethnic cookbooks to be written by cultural residents in the locales where the food is from, whether native or adopted, these people have had presumably years of experience making the food, as well as, the language skills and acumen(to get published!) in order to communicate this to us in the western mass market.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Pink on August 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
People should put aside any political thoughts about this book. 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 found no strong hints of any political agenda. What I found instead was an extremely interesting commentary on the wildly varied peoples of China - from all regions lesser known - including Tibetans. The photographs are stunning, showing the beauty of these people. The recipes are simple and easily followed even for those of us who don't always have access to exotic ingredients (alternatives are given). The book makes me want to visit these areas, meet these people and eat the food. What can be bad about that?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By cxlxmx on March 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this book, of finding interesting and exotic recipes from inner Asia and the Himalayas, etc. It's a good idea for a cookbook. However, the reality of it doesn't live up to the idea. The recipes aren't really that interesting. For example, there is a Tuvan recipe. Tuva! Most people don't even know of Tuva! However, when you turn to the recipe, the authors say that they're not sure if this is really a Tuvan recipe or a Khazakh one. And it turns out just to be basically a noodle and meat dish. Yawn. If they wanted to get interesting, they should have included a reindeer meat dish from Tuvan reindeer herders.

The book does have a lot of historical and geographical information, though, which I think is good for a book like this. For example, there is a chart of Asian language groups (Altaic-Turkic-Mongolic, etc), which you wouldn't normally expect in a cookbook, but which makes it more interesting to read a cookbook like this. And this is really what this cookbook is for: sitting on the couch and touring Asia in your lap rather than cooking up a storm of interesting foods. The book is very large and heavy and makes an extremely impressive coffee table book. Get it for that, but not for culinary satisfaction.
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