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My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen: 100 Family Recipes and Life Lessons Hardcover – December 5, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The most enchanting parts of this cookbook are the author's atmospheric essays about learning to cook at her grandmother's stoves as a child in Canton Province, bringing the rituals of pre-revolutionary China to life. Alongside elegant descriptions of her grandmother's bound feet and fields of rice, vegetables and mulberries-the latter of which she grew to feed silkworms-is a treasure trove of family recipes. Lo (The Chinese Kitchen) includes familiar Cantonese favorites like Won Ton, a time-consuming dish that's worth the work, and more obscure choices like Romaine Lettuce with Black Beans, a true winner that's mixed with a garlicky, peppery sauce that won't drown out the freshness of the produce. Other noteworthy dishes include crackling Guangfu Chicken, included in feasts "celebrating a child's first month since birth," and Salted Pork with Silken Bean Curd, a traditional New Year's dish. Also included are a number of recipes for steamed buns, soups and congee, as well as a helpful chapter of ingredient notes. Though beautifully designed with old photos of Lo's family, the volume does not include any photographs of the dishes, a challenge for home cooks who aren't sure what, say, Steamed Whole Wintermelon Soup should look like after an hour or more of cooking. But that's a small objection against what is, on the whole, a cookbook worth holding on to, and even passing down.
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About the Author

Eileen Yin-Fei Lo is the author of nine previous Chinese cookbooks. She has written about Chinese cooking for the New York Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Travel & Leisure, and has taught Chinese cooking for more than 20 years. She is married to Gourmet columnist Fred Feretti.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HP Trade (December 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557885052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557885050
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
I will have to find a Chinese store for some of the ingredients to make some of the recipes.
sweet judy
It bought a lot of great memories back for me of eating with the family and talkig naround the table.
Sincerely Yours
I own some of Ms. Lo's other cookbooks and look forward to trying some of the recipes in this one.
C. M. Fong

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin C. Asher on December 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This delightful book will transform the way you think about cooking, about food, and likely about life as well.

Tracing her own skills back to the critical lessons she learned at a tender young age from her beloved Grandmother, Eileen Yin-Fei Lo takes you on a journey from simple baby steps (how to make perfect rice) right up to more

exotic Holiday dishes. But more than just helping you to understand how to cook properly, how to respect the ingredients, the Gods of the kitchen and more, she also shares a whole philosophy of life. An insight into how the Chinese look at things.

You could read this book without lifting one spatula, nor steaming one precious fish, and feel enriched and ennobled by the experience.

I can personally strongly recommend this profound tome to all.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. M. Fong on July 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I love this book for its author's personal entries and photos. The recipes are good, but some were not a part of my personal experience. For those recipes I go to Ken Hom's Easy Recipes from a Chinese American Childhood Easy Family Recipes from a Chinese-American Childhood (Knopf Cooks American Series) and Every Grain of Rice, by Ellen Blonder and Annabel Low.Every Grain of Rice: A Taste of Our Chinese Childhood in America However, it is fascinating to learn about cookbook author and cooking instructor Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's life. I own some of Ms. Lo's other cookbooks and look forward to trying some of the recipes in this one. I'm sure each recipe has been meticulously tested.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lucky Bill on November 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My Cantonese wife is very much enjoying this cookbook. And I am enjoying the results. The cookbook is filled with lots of little tips, in addition to great recipes and background stories. Would make an excellent addition to the cookbook shelf, though it will probably be kept (well used) on the countertop!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EJ on October 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a good enjoyable read--but not the best of Eileen Yin-Fe Lo's Cookbooks.

It's a romp through Eileen's childhood in China with her artistocratic grandmother, learning to cook the old-fashioned way with the help of a team of servants. She eventually escaped to the west when she was worried the communists would assign her to manual labor.

If you love Chinese food, and are interested in Ms. Lo's past, it's a good book to curl up with in the evening.

Compared with Ms. Lo's other books (I have four others), this is the least useful as a cookbook. I virtually never use it now that I have the Chinese Kitchen and the others.The selection of recipes is not as big as most of her other books, and I have found them to be hit or miss. In general, I've had more consistently spectacular results with her other books. One standout for me in this book is noodles with young ginger, which became a regular favorite in my household; I never found "young" ginger, but it tastes delicious with regular supermarket ginger!

For me, this book was my first Eileen cookbook, and it was a gateway drug. Once I tried it, I wanted more, stronger, better! If you're not (yet) highly motivated to learn authentic Chinese cooking and prefer a book that's fun to sit down and read, with a few recipes to get started just in case you do get inspired, this is a great choice. If you are already a fan of Eileen Yin-Fe Lo and think you would enjoy spending some time getting to know her Ah Paw's life and views on cooking a bit more, it's a also good choice, since it has the most personal material of any of the books.

However, if you are a dedicated cook, already have several other Chinese cookbooks and are looking to expand your repertoire, you'll probably be disappointed. If you're looking just for a cookbook, buy the Chinese Kitchen or, if you already have that, Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking or the Chinese Chicken Cookbook.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sincerely Yours VINE VOICE on August 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I always love reading about cultures and mixed with food (my favorite passtime) - this is a treasure of book with genuine recipes that my family and my family before that have cooked. It bought a lot of great memories back for me of eating with the family and talkig naround the table. I was even surprised to see a recipe that is cooked for mothers who have just given birth (pigs feet with ginger). there are so many treasured recipes and for many of the recipes that I have tried, they have come out just great. reading and eating - what a lovely combination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Lucey Bowen on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful gift to grandchild from a master chef, continuing the tradition her grandmother maintained. Makes me wish my grandma was Chinese! All I learned was pimento cheese and frozen buttermilk-pineapple sorbet!
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dwight on December 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This one has family photos and anecdotes. The author once managed a silk shop in Chunking Mansions. I would have liked to have read about the snacks she ate then but I guess she did a lot of cooking and probably didn't like to eat street food so much. She reminds you to remove the skin on the gingkos and the bitter stem as well.

This book requires a scale though because she gives ingredients in weights.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Wong on April 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Today's Chinese Americans have lost touch with the history and beliefs of their Asian culture. "My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen" reintroduces customs and superstitions that have become lost in today's fast moving society. While I sampled a few of the authentic recipes, I most enjoyed the reflections of the author's childhood, the daily lifestyle and holiday celebrations.
I plan to make this a most read for my teen age son, in hopes that he'll learn a little about his Cantonese heritage.
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