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Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America Hardcover – April 14, 2009
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Cooking from the Heart is the first cookbook to clearly set out the culinary traditions of the Hmong people as well as the cultural significance such traditions hold. The recipes are accompanied by anecdotes, aphorisms, and poems that demonstrate the importance of food and cooking in Hmong culture and offer a dramatic perspective on the immigrant experience. Scripter and Yang outline diet restrictions and taboos as well as how herbs and foods are traditionally used for healing purposes. The dishes featured in Cooking from the Heart range from well-known items such as egg rolls and green papaya salad to more unfamiliar dishes such as Nqaij Qaib Hau Xyaw Tshuaj (Chicken Soup for New Mothers) and Dib Iab Ntim Nqaij Hau Ua Kua (Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup).
The oral tradition by which these recipes have been passed down has meant that Hmong cooking has not yet reached a wide audience in the United States. While designed for an American kitchen, Cooking from the Heart encourages readers to seek out Hmong herbs and vegetables only recently introduced in the United States. After all, the authors say, the essence of Hmong cuisine is cooking with an adventurous and creative spirit—from the heart.
About the Author
Born in Laos, Sheng Yang now lives in Sacramento, California, where she works as a medical assistant.
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Top Customer Reviews
But! At last, a cookbook! I am somewhat familiar with Thai and various Chinese cuisines, so the recipes don't put me off. And! there is a recipe for my adored "eggrolls"! OK, it's a bit different then the ones I remember- which didn't have shrimp- but it's REALLY close. And I have been looking for such for nigh on 30 years now.
Plus, all the other delights, like many versions of larb, and a vast array of condiments and sauces.
Also- besides the recipes, it has many essays on various aspects of Hmong life and culture, and they are well-written and fascinating.
I have not yet really cooked from it, though I've made up a couple of the condiments, which were excellent. I am really looking forward to making the "eggrolls"! although it looks like a full-day job; I can see why traditionally they have parties to make them up (the recipe makes *150*)!
I am thrilled to have this resource- both for all the information, and for the authentic recipes.
Most of these recipes are variations that I already use but some personal recipes looked good too. There are recipes that I grew up with that are not on the list. Maybe those recipes are too strange for Westerners or maybe the authors will make a second edition to include more later on. I like how the book integrates history, background, and stories for those not familiar with the Hmong. I also like how the recipes include alternative ingredients if the grocery stores are limited. It's nice to be able to make these Hmong dishes that mom and grandma made, especially since I live and travel so far from the Hmong communities.
There are some recipes that may not suit the American appetite, but there are some recipes that Americans are familiar with which were adapted from the Hmong living among the Vietnamese, Laotians, Chinese, Thai and American cultures. My favorite parts about the recipes are that they are home made from scratch, healthy, and some only need a few simple ingredients. There are some recipes that require more effort and practice, but that just means more tasty! This book is a long awaited fresh addition to the kitchen, and provides a better option than the American fast food, microwaved excuses for sustenance, and over-processed boxes of unknown chemicals labeled food.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book will be valueable for Second & Third generation Hmoung - it's a bit too difficult still for me, beginning Asian food cookPublished 1 month ago by Choko Mario
It would be nice to add picture of each dishes that was made in the book.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very nice introduction to the Hmong Culture. I have many Hmong Friends & have been to alot of Their Gatherings. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
i love this book. bought this and there are some recipes that i have never tried before. my 1st attempt at the one of the recipes was a success and my father gave me GREAT... Read morePublished 8 months ago by pahnou
This is the only Hmong cookbook available. It has some great recipes, and should be a part of everyone's Asia cooking library.Published 9 months ago by William O. Beeman
This was an outstanding book. I enjoyed reading through the different recipes and how easy they are to make for my family. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Karen
Haven't got the book yet but I know that this book is going to be good.Published 22 months ago by richard S.
I am Hmong, so when I came across this book I just HAD to get it. Most of the things in the book I already knew how to make, but there are several recipes in it that I have yet to... Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by MsTangerine
I am an American culinary student with strong Hmong connections. For at least the past 20 years or so my work family has been predominantly Hmong. Read morePublished on July 8, 2013 by Amazon Customer