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La Dolce Vegan!

Categories: Cookbooks, Cooking tips, Food Culture, Vegan


Know someone that has decided to go vegan?  Have you decided yourself?  La Dolche Vegan is a great book for any beginner vegan.  The recipes are simple to follow, and the ingredients are easy to find in the store.  Sarah Kramer includes recipes with faux meats, and also just straight up veggie fare.  In the back, she gives ideas on how to substitute the things I would never give up such as butter, but you will be impressed by how she gets around those things.  The author of the book Sarah Kramer is super cute.  She includes recipes from her friends, her husband (Wolfie), and lots of pictures of not just food but all the cute outfits she owns.  I would rate this book 3.5 stars and the only reason why I am not rating it 4 is just because I wish the book was bigger.

Book: Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics

Categories: Articles, Cookbooks, Eastern Nutrition, Food Energetics

This is a nice quick-reference book for Food Energetics.  Gives straightforward tables for food groups, and TCM properties in table-formats.

Gives a bit of TCM introductory theory, but the reference tables are where the real information is…

Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics

by Daverick Leggett…

Free Range Meat

Categories: Articles, Cookbooks, Food Culture

Great Nutrition Web site / book, with links to various health related topics

Categories: Articles, Cookbooks, Eastern Nutrition, Nutritional Information, Western Medicine

I recently was invited to see a friend give a speech along with a nutritionist named Liz Lipski. She is a PhD in nutrition and certified in holistic nutrition. Her talk was fantastic and some of the research bridged the gap between science and TCM, specifically relating to some of the concepts of diet and genetics/disease prognosis.

I recommend her book Digestive Wellness and there are lots of other things on the web site to look into.

I feel in our medicine we may sometimes rely on herbs and acu to treat patients and forget to discuss the concept of nutrition in more depth outside of being good to the spleen.

Check it out.

be well


NHLBI Publishes New Heart Healthy Cookbook Keep the Beat Recipes: Deliciously Healthy Dinners

Categories: Articles, Cookbooks

Shark’s Fin & Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China

Categories: Asian, Cookbooks

Here is a review of a book by Fuchsia Dunlop’s latest bok. She details her experiences and has some comments about folk nutritional medicine in the book. What I have read is highly entertaining and insightful into Chinese cooking culture. – Enjoy –

Fuchsia Dunlop’s memoir about a bid to master Chinese cooking, Shark’s Fin & Sichuan Pepper, is also an example of travel writing at its finest, says Paul Levy

Shark’s Fin & Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China

Fuchsia Dunlop

Ebury Press 16.99, pp312

With superlative cookery books on the spicy cuisines of Sichuan and Hunan to her credit, Fuchsia Dunlop has earned the right to pronounce definitively on Chinese food. But her authority was hard won, as we learn from this robustly wrought memoir, destined, I think, to become a classic of travel writing and enough of a guide to the attitudes of ordinary Chinese that it ought to be read by anyone attending the Olympics this year.

Though born into a cosmopolitan Oxford family and educated at the ‘academic hothouse’ of Oxford High and Cambridge, it still seemed odd that Dunlop – whose career started in the BBC, subediting news reports from the Asia-Pacific region – should veer off into the specialised world of Chinese food. Her first real exposure to what is one of the world’s greatest food cultures didn’t occur until 1992, when she went to Hong Kong and Guangzhou. In the latter’s Qingping market she encountered the cages of ‘badgers, cats and tapirs’ that are testimony to the willingness of the southern Chinese to regard most forms of life as potential food.

The next year found her in Taipei, beginning her mastery of the language (she now speaks and understands several dialects). Stopping off on her journey home in Sichuan, Dunlop had her first taste of the local food, with its lip-numbing peppercorns, chilli bean paste, ‘pig’s kidneys cut into frilly, dainty morsels and stir-fried, fast, with celery and pickled chillies’ and ‘buttery, fried “fish-fragrant” aubergines’ – perhaps realising her twin gifts for remembering flavours and having the ability to describe them deftly, elegantly and accurately.

A few months later, she was back in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, because, being ‘on the fringes of Han Chinese China, near the borderlands inhabited by Tibetans, Yi, Qiang’ and other peoples, it was a suitable place to research Chinese policy on ethnic minorities. Here Dunlop had to put up with duplicated HIV tests and warnings about subversive activities, before finally admitting to herself that she wasn’t cut out for her ‘dry academic job’ and that maybe she ought to pursue her fantasy of becoming a professional cook. She became the first – and only – Westerner to be a full-time student at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine and, finding there was more hostility to her sex than to her foreign origins, began the slow business of learning to think like a Chinese.

This is the real burden of her memoir, not that its author would put it so crassly. But at cooking college, she had to overcome her own, very un-Chinese, distaste for using MSG in every dish, master the nuances of the mouth-feel of, for example, slippery and rubbery-textured foods (dried sea cucumbers that resemble ‘fossilised turds’) and learn how ‘to create dazzling fu hei wei [complex flavours]. A well-orchestrated Sichuanese meal ‘will awaken your tastebuds through the judicious use of chilli oil, stimulate your tongue and lips with tingly Sichuan pepper, caress your palate with a spicy sweetness, electrify you with dry fried chillies, soothe you with sweet and sour, calm your spirits with a tonic soup’.

Above all, she had to dispense with her own cultural taboos about eating. Chinese omnivorousness is the real deal – insects, vipers, bears’ paws, chickens’ feet. Her adventures with live caterpillars are not recorded to make her readers squirm, but to help us understand the radically different Chinese view of nutrition.

From Sichuan, Dunlop travels to Chairman Mao’s fiery-food province of Hunan, where she experiences the paranoia and panic induced by the arrival of the Sars virus, which combines scarily with the vestiges of Mao-worship. In the Silk Road town of Kashgar in Xinjiang province, she feels the perilous clash of competing Turkish and Eurasian Islamic influences with Buddhism, Confucianism and China’s version of capitalism. In Yangzhou she begins to feel jaded, until rescued by a splendid dinner, described in that distinctive voice that marks out the very best travel writing and makes many pages of Dunlop worthy of comparison with Norman Lewis and Patrick Leigh Fermor.