“The Last Chinese Chef”–Exciting News Update!

29 07 2009


Hello Everyone! I hope your summer is going well. I am happy that everyone seems to be enjoying “The Last Chinese Chef” so much and I have a couple of exciting pieces of news to share with you.

First off, our author, the wonderful Nicole Mones, has agreed to be our judge for this round of Cook The Books! It is always nice when an author gets involved with our group and Nicole, even in the midst of heavy re-writes for her next book has so generously offered her time.

In addition to judging, Nicole wanted to make sure that we had some additional resources for recipes. In her own words, “Honestly, the recipes that would most relate to the novel (i.e. dishes that appear in its pages) are rather difficult  to reproduce. Sometimes this is because they are just complicated; sometimes it is because the chef who gave the recipe wanted to hold back something proprietary (as is the case with beggar’s chicken), and sometimes it is because the chef, despite best efforts to convey the recipe, cannot really do it so well because Chinese cuisine is not recipe-driven; it is taught by apprenticeship. It’s hard for chefs to think in terms of codifying their process in writing. I have so often seen Chinese chefs flummoxed by the effort to create a written recipe. This is the case with Henry Chang’s pork ribs steamed in lotus leaf and his ‘snow cabbage and bean sheets’ – I know him well, we have collaborated on many banquets (organized by me, designed and cooked by him), I have profiled him in the press, and he has really tried to give me some of his recipes. But his skills are so highly developed and instinctual that even following his recipe often does not quite achieve the same dish.”

In light of this, Nicole added a page to her website with some recipes that she has collected in China over the years for us to use as a resource. They can be found at her website under Recipes for “Cook the Books.”. (Here is the link to our page) Nicole says: “Of course some may have their own recipes, I just thought this would be fun. These are people who love to cook and these dishes, though not related to the novel, are all interesting recipes.” 

How great is that?! So if you have not selected a recipe yet, you have another resource for some very delicious sounding dishes to chose from. Remember you have until Friday, August 28th to read the book and post your recipe. (A favor: when you have posted please leave a comment here on the CTB site or email me at debinhawaii@gmail.com and let me know so that I can be sure to include you in our round-up.)  Everyone is welcome and there is still plenty of time to join in.

We look forward to seeing your culinary interpretations of this wonderful book!



18 responses

30 07 2009

I saw that page on her site – how very generous and kind!

I have decided my menu, I will be cooking it on Saturday (and I am trying not to be tempted into buying new crockery!)

30 07 2009

Oh, how exciting! I have been thinking and rethinking this one and now…more recipes! Cool! I wanted to try to follow some of the tenets of Chinese cooking, but, as Mones knows so well, this is not for the faint of heart. Have to recheck her site. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I do love this book. Usually pass my books on to friends, but this is a keeper.

30 07 2009

That was very generous and thoughtful of our Guest Judge and Featured Author Nicole Mones to go to so much trouble for us. Thanks for organizing this, Deb!

Now, what to make, what to make……I had some further inspiration from renting “Eat Drink Man Woman”, the 1994 Ang Lee film about a widower chef who cooks gloriously complicated Sunday feasts for his three grown daughters. The film takes place in Taiwan and the cooking scenes are just great.

30 07 2009

Such a lovely thing to do. What a kind and generous lady!
Thanks for all your amazing organizing too, Deb.

30 07 2009

Thanks you guys–Nicole is making me look good! 😉 Rachel, great inspiration–I love Eat Drink Man Woman and own it and the Latin version Tortilla Soup (a bit “fluffier” but fun too). The food in both is incredible.

30 07 2009

Foodycat. I know what you mean. I have my dish picked out and am hitting Chinatown next week for a couple of items and keep telling myself–no new serving bowls and dishes! 😉

31 07 2009

How exciting! I just got this book yesterday!

4 08 2009
maria v

eat drink man woman – i remember seeing that in my youth (!!!)
how wonderful of nicole to offer recipes using snails and squash flowers – anyone who reads my blog knows that my family eats this kind of food on a regular basis in summer!
my post is coming up

6 08 2009

I wish I could cook like Sam, or at least eat Sam’s food! Unfortunately, I’ll just have to stick to my poor American Chinese-ish mimicry. Although this might not be truly Chinese, I did create a very tasty and healthy stir-fry lunch, inspired by Mones’ book: http://muffinlovechick.blogspot.com/2009/08/cooking-books-chinese-style.html

8 08 2009

I need to remember to bookmark those links… I wanted them the other day for something else and couldn’t find them! And, I need to reread a few passages and make notes for my don’t forget file! I was already posted when this came out, but that’s fine…I’d already found the info!
Have fun!!

19 08 2009

Somehow I missed this post…but HOW EXCITING!!! I kept thinking how cool it would be if Mones was involved in some way…you are on the ball, Deb! Even though I finished this book in a day or so, I’ve only just made my dish. I’m posting soon and will email you when I do, Deb. Great selection 😀

20 08 2009
20 08 2009

Hey Everyone,

I am loving seeing these posts come in–such great dishes so far! I finally got all the stuff to make mine and I am making it this weekend to post early next week. So Heather, you are well ahead of me!

21 08 2009
22 08 2009

I’ll second that “Phew”, Maria, my somewhat longish post is just up now too. What a great book and I’m looking forward to rereading again soon. It really has so much information packed into it. Loved learning some new Chinese dishes too! Great pick Deb!

27 08 2009

Here is my post – sorry I forgot to do this earlier. And thanks for the great pick – what a universally enjoyed book. http://munchandnibble.blogspot.com/2009/08/chinese-supper-for-cook-books.html

29 08 2009

What a great reading and learning experience. I sent my post link to your email Thurs. My home computer was down, so had to do it from my office.

29 08 2017

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