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She and Sam hit it off right away, even though he is involved in a very important competition for a place on the Chinese national cooking team for the 2008 Olympics. They travel together to the south of China where she meets her husband's possible daughter--with Sam standing by to act as translator--and where Maggie meets much of Sam's family. He has been welcomed back with open arms, even though he occasionally feels that he has one foot in China and one in Ohio. The Beijing uncles and the Hangzhou uncle are a raucous, loving, argumentative bunch of foodies who advise Sam about menus, encourage a romance with Maggie, make him start over again when the dish isn't perfect, and alternately praise and criticize his cooking.
Maggie loves being in the middle of it all and finds herself more and more drawn to Sam. She begins, with Sam's help, to see food as "healing" and understands the guanxi or "connectedness" that takes place around food. At the beginning of each chapter is a paragraph taken from a book entitled The Last Chinese Chef, written by Sam's grandfather and translated by Sam and his father. Mones has written that book, too, which is an explanation of the place of food in Chinese history and family life. The novel is rich with meaning and lore and an examination of loving relationships. Don't even touch this book when you're hungry. The descriptions make the aromas and textures float right off the page. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This was a very well written book.
With the support of her boss, Maggie travelled to China to investigate the claim as well as to write about a new restaurant opened by a Chinese-American chef.
This was a beautifully written book, not only full of interesting information about the history and culture of Chinese food but also a love story.
I am stupefied, astonished and bumfuzzled by this book. What does it want to be? It's a history of China's food, Communist Revolution and massage parlors. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Emilie
A delightful read. So very well written. Like the dining described the story weaves together the lives of families with the art of Chinese dining. Subtle, complex and surprising! Read morePublished 5 days ago by susan staples
As someone who cooks, I found this book very appealing. The descriptions of the look, feel and tastes of ingredients and their heritage were so emotional, I think I will look at... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Cathleen M Interrante
I have long been a fan of Nicole Mones who in my opinion is a terrific writer. I have all of her books and this one is one of her best. Read morePublished 8 days ago by D M S
Some reviewers mentioned that is was somewhat predicable. It was, but the information and writing about the food made up for that with me, though it is still just four stars... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Lance K. Mertz
I love the marriage of learning about the culture and cuisine as well as the human story in the book. The pace is fast and fun. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Rikke Christensen
I would go anywhere with this author, who keeps taking me to new depths (and eras and loves) of PRC China.Published 20 days ago by BiblioGuide
This novel is more than an interesting love story. I learned much about Chinese culture--and food-- from reading this engrossing, but light novel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gayle Taylor