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Thread: Which Fuscia Dunlop book?

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    Which Fuscia Dunlop book?

    What should I buy first?

    “Every grain of rice”? First?


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    "Every Grain of Rice" is the best introduction, and covers the widest regional styles. There is some duplication of recipes with the earlier books (Land of Plenty/Sichuan Cookery and Revolutionary Chinese), but in some cases it's good because she's refined the recipes and adapted for fewer hard-to-find ingredients. After that, I'd get the others in this order, just based on what I've found easy or fun to cook, so your mileage or anyone else's may vary:

    "Land of Plenty/Sichuan Cookery" -- her first book, has the most in-depth information and background, and of course this is a great regional style. There's a lot of text and fewer (not so great quality) photos though, compared to the great photography in her later books. If you need photos of dishes for inspiration, this may not satisfy as well as her other books. Still, a must-have if you like Sechuan style.

    After that, I found her latest book -- "Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China" -- to be filled with good stuff, and an interesting variation from the other regions.

    Finally, "Revolutionary Chinese" has some good recipes but it didn't click with me as well as the other books. Maybe it's just my personal taste. I've still cooked some good things from it, and you'd probably want it eventually to fill out the series.


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    Quote Originally Posted by boomchakabowwow View Post
    What should I buy first?

    “Every grain of rice”? First?
    Really depends on what you like to cook, they all tackle different regions—I have four of her books, all well written. Lately I've spent more time with "Revolutionary...". What makes you want a Dunlop book?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DitmasPork View Post
    Really depends on what you like to cook, they all tackle different regions—I have four of her books, all well written. Lately I've spent more time with "Revolutionary...". What makes you want a Dunlop book?

    The mere mention of Chinese food cooking will cause she someone to tell me to buy here books. I’ll leaf thru a few at the bookstore.

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    I like "Breath of a Wok" by Young a lot - well written, a cookbook you'll want to read. My Dunlop "Every Grain...." is a close second.
    Older and wider..

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    I've got other Chinese cookbooks. The reason I recommend Dunlop is that aside from the context she provides, a very high percentage of the recipes I've tried from her books just work. Sometimes with a little adjustment to taste, but the hit to miss ratio has been high. That's more than I can say for some other cookbooks I've collected over the years.

    I'd like to hear about other good ones though. I'll take a look at "Breath of a Wok."

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    "Sichuan cookery" I have - the only thing I do not like (and which seems to be a common point of criticism with this and other Dunlop books) is the lack of full photography....

    BTW, has any cookbook author ever done a cookbook (especially chinese) organized along "10 dishes, 10 recipes (and context) each" instead of "100 dishes, 1 recipe each"?
    "All right. So whatdya do with it?" - "Whatdya mean 'Whatdya do with it?" - "Self defense? Mayhem? Shish kebab?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeByA1000Cuts View Post
    BTW, has any cookbook author ever done a cookbook (especially chinese) organized along "10 dishes, 10 recipes (and context) each" instead of "100 dishes, 1 recipe each"?
    I like the idea of this alot. I think its rare, although sometimes you might get 3-4 variations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boomchakabowwow View Post
    The mere mention of Chinese food cooking will cause she someone to tell me to buy here books. I’ll leaf thru a few at the bookstore.
    I find Dunlop's books to be informative, written in an engrossing manner—her "Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper" is a fascinating read.

    Of the numerous Chinese cookbooks I have, if I had to make an essential desert island list, it'll be:
    • Barbara Tropp's "The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking."
    • Virginia Lee and Craig Claiborne's "The Chinese Cookbook."
    • Bruce Cost's "Asian Ingredients."
    • Fuchsia Dunlop's "Revolutionary..." or "Land of..."
    • Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's "Chinese Kitchen."
    • Irene Kuo's "Key's to Chinese Cooking."

    I do have an old Chinese-Hawaiian cookbook that has very old fashioned recipes like joong, but the book is meant for cooks that already have a good knowledge of Chinese cookery techniques.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeByA1000Cuts View Post
    "Sichuan cookery" I have - the only thing I do not like (and which seems to be a common point of criticism with this and other Dunlop books) is the lack of full photography....

    BTW, has any cookbook author ever done a cookbook (especially chinese) organized along "10 dishes, 10 recipes (and context) each" instead of "100 dishes, 1 recipe each"?
    James Peterson did a book called Glorious French Food that was sort of organized around a discrete number of themes with tons of variations on each theme. It’s a great book, taught me a lot about cooking.

    Rick

    Ps, never did much Chinese cooking at home, I’m going to give one of these a whirl.


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