Cookbook Review: Beyond the Great Wall by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
I know it's been a long time since I posted a cookbook review. But reading Zoe Archer's Warrior and Jeannie Lin's Butterfly Swords brought this book to mind. Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China is probably the most gorgeous cookbook I've ever seen. No exaggeration. This is the type of cookbook you read. It's far more than recipes. But the recipes that are there are simple, surprising, and yummy.
Beyond the Great Wall reminds us that China is far more diverse than we give it credit for. And that Chinese food is far more than the Cantonese or Szechuan dishes served in American Chinese restaurants. There are bread and pasta recipes. There are recipes for fried fish. For kebabs that look quite similar to foods from Iran. Even doughnuts.
But above and beyond the selection of recipes, the photos, and the narratives, this book does what all good books should do: it takes you on a journey through China that is so engrossing you feel, at least a little bit, that you've been there yourself.
My Grade: A