Really, who among us hasn't secretly wished for an Asian grandmother at some point? I know I have, and it's usually been while staring in confusion at the burned contents of a hot wok or while wrestling with uncooperative homemade soba noodles
. This book by Pat Tanumihardja is like discovering that I have a long lost relative who I can call on in these moments of culinary distress. Even better, this book contains the collective knowledge of many grandmothers from many different ethnic upbringings — a veritable encyclopedia of practical advice and time-tested recipes from Asian communities around the globe.
• Who wrote it: Patricia Tanumihardja
• Who published it: Sasquatch Books
• Number of recipes: 130
• Recipes for right now: Crispy Shrimp Rolls, Hot and Sour Soup, Chicken Coconut Soup, Wok-Fried Pea Shoots, Pan-Fried Tofu Simmered in Sweet Miso Sauce, Yellow Split Pea Curry, Stir-Fried Beef with Mustard Greens, Lao Chicken and Herb Salad, Miso-Smothered Salmon, Sweet and Savory Rice Noodles, Stuffed Potato Flatbread
• Other highlights: If I could give this book a big hug, I would. It's not just that the recipes sound so appealing and doable in my own kitchen. It's the words and stories of all these women (and the occasional grandpa) that make the recipes come alive. This feels different than coming across a new recipe on a blog. It really feels like there's an intimacy and a connection to past generations as you flip through the pages. I like this a lot.
In terms of a practical and useful cookbook, this one has it all. I love the illustrated guides to Asian pantry ingredients at the front of the book — so helpful when searching through an Asian market for an ingredient you've never seen before. I appreciate the step-by-step breakdown of the recipes and the advice found in "Pat's Notes" and "Grandma Says" at the end of most of the recipes.
If I didn't already make it clear, this book has dinner table representatives from all over the world — you'll find Chinese and Japanese favorites, but also dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Nepal, and more. Wherever Asian grandmothers are found! The diversity of dishes and flavors in this book will be enough to keep me occupied for some time to come.
• Who would enjoy this book? Fans of Asian cuisine, cooks wanting to reproduce restaurant dishes at home, anyone who's ever wanted their own Asian grandmother to call for kitchen advice.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook by Patricia Tanumihardja
• Visit the author's website: Patricia Tanumihardja
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)