Sunday, January 02, 2005

Two books for the New Year

Ever wanted to order off of the specials menu hand-written in Chinese in a restaurant where nobody else is speaking English? The serious food enthusiast should order a copy of James D McCawley's The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters.

McCawley's a linguistics professor teaching the written language found on menus, complete with pratice exercises. He doesn't attempt to teach any of the spoken dialects, which is a whole different ballgame. My resolution for this year is to understand at least half of the specials menu in the local restaurants that cater to the Chinese community here in Irvine.

Almost every herb and spice used in European and Asian cuisines is well photographed and described in Jill Norman's Herbs and Spices: The Cook's Reference. Publishing color photos on every page of a book is terribly expensive, so I hope Norman sells enough copies to keep this volume in print!

This culinary encylopedia illustrates hundreds of herbal ingredients both common and unusual. I recently purchased Vietnamese corn tea, which contains pandan leaf. What's that? Norman's got it covered. If you're an eggheaded type like me, then this book's for you.

Oh - for disclosure's sake - I am now pimping Amazon. I'm recommending these books because I sincerely like them, not because I want the nickel I earn from you clicking through and buying stuff from them. So though I feel a tad whorish, I bought these books from Amazon, and I feel good about sending you there too.


Post a Comment

<< Home