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Helpful Votes: 7

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Helen Chen's Chinese Home Cooking
Helen Chen's Chinese Home Cooking
by Helen Chen
Edition: Paperback
86 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than just a Chinese cookbook, April 8, 2013
I've purchased this book twice. The first time was shortly after I moved out on my own, and it taught me a lot about cooking in general as much as about cooking Chinese food. I lost it during a move so I bought it again a few years later.

It isn't just a cookbook with a number of delicious recipes. The author translates and demystifies the principles of cooking Chinese food. Besides providing recipes, the author takes on the role of being an ambassador for Chinese cooking. She lays out the cultural assumptions behind the recipes so that a western cook can cook chinese food the way we would cook western food. For example, I might follow a recipe to make spaghetti, but even without a recipe I know what spaghetti is and what makes it spaghetti. So I can make something that is recognizably spaghetti even without following the recipe. Similarly, if I'm following a recipe for spaghetti and I don't have a particular ingredient, I can probably substitute to make something that might or might not be spaghetti but will still be good. I am able to do this, because I understand the cultural assumptions behind spaghetti and similar western foods. The brilliance of this book is that it teaches how to cook Chinese food that way, and I have found myself using techniques I learned from this book even when I'm not cooking food that is overtly "Chinese".

One of the most useful parts of this book is providing a lot of options for substitution. These include substituting different manufactured products like sauces and seasonings, advice on choosing a sherry to cook with, information about what kinds of vegetables, noodles, and meat can be used in place of traditional products if the traditional products are not available or just to save money, and colorful anecdotes that also help the reader understand the principles being passed on. Here the author really earned my respect because she did not use the book as a platform to push her own company's products. As far as I could tell, she fairly laid out products available from competitors on equal footing with those her company makes.

The end result of using this book is that I no longer feel like I am blindly following recipes for cooking Chinese food, but I feel confident in understanding what I am cooking and why it works. I would greatly appreciate if authors of other ethnic cookbooks used this model. It would help western cooks be better cooks of ethnic cuisine, and allow those authors to teach us about the culture of their lands as well as the food.

Fable: The Journey - Xbox 360
Fable: The Journey - Xbox 360
Offered by Doremi Music USA
Price: $11.98
145 used & new from $6.73

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I feel ripped off, October 14, 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fable is about meaningful choices. Kinect is a product about freedom to control a character beyond the limitations of a controller. You put the two together and somehow you get a game about driving a cart down a road collecting dots Pac Man style interspersed with cuts scenes and rail shooter fights, but never with any meaningful choice. As a gaming consumer I should not have made a purchasing decision off of the reputation of the game world nor the potential of the technology used. Making a snap purchase decision to pre-order was my mistake. But seriously, is this the best that developers can do? When working with a technology that continuously tracks the 3-dimensional location of a player's head, hands, and feet the best they can figure out to do with it is a rail shooter? Are developers that stuck on button-pushing games that they just can't think farther outside the button-pushing box than this? I can't play it. It is too depressing. I'll be trading it in for something that at least doesn't make me sick to look at it.

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