October 10, 2014
Chinese Feasts & Festivals by S. C. Moey
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
The cover and illustrations of this book, done in beautiful, soft pastels, give it the appearance of a children's book, but it is so much more than that! History, folklore and tradition are side by side with a delightful collection of authentic Chinese dishes. Divided into two parts, the first is The Chinese Feast with recipes separated by type--Poultry, Meat, Seafood, Vegetables, Rice Soups & Noodles and Desserts. The second part is Chinese Festivals. Five major Chinese Festivals are here with their history and traditional foods. Some of the recipes may be a bit more than you want to attempt to make yourself, but this book is worth just reading as well. I homeschool my daughters, and this book will be a lovely supplement when we start studying China later this year!
I highly recommend you have a good Asian market nearby or find somewhere online to buy the more unfamiliar ingredients such as prepared shark's fin, black sea moss, dried bean curd skin, bamboo leaves and lotus seeds. If you're looking for quick, Americanized "Chinese" food, this is definitely not the book for you. Interesting, and sometimes long ingredients lists, unfamiliar cooking styles (such as holding a chicken by one leg over a pot of boiling broth, slowly ladling the broth over and through the chicken until it is thoroughly scalded), and time-consuming processes may put off some, but the sheer authenticity of it makes it worth the time and effort to turn out a jewel of a dish from this intriguing culture.
I received a copy of this book from Tuttle Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.