Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

( 3 )

Overview

"It is a very long time since I saw a book which is so patently an absolute 'must.'"—Alan Davidson, author of The Oxford Companion to Food
The food of the Sichuan region in southwest China is one of the world's great culinary secrets. Many of us know it for its "hot and spicy" reputation or a few of its most famous dishes, most notably Kung Pao chicken, but that is only the beginning. Sichuanese cuisine is legendary in China for its sophistication and astounding diversity: local...

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Overview

"It is a very long time since I saw a book which is so patently an absolute 'must.'"—Alan Davidson, author of The Oxford Companion to Food
The food of the Sichuan region in southwest China is one of the world's great culinary secrets. Many of us know it for its "hot and spicy" reputation or a few of its most famous dishes, most notably Kung Pao chicken, but that is only the beginning. Sichuanese cuisine is legendary in China for its sophistication and astounding diversity: local gourmets claim the region boasts 5000 different dishes.
Fuchsia Dunlop fell in love with Sichuanese food on her first visit to the province ten years ago. The following year she went to live in the Sichuanese capital Chengdu, where she became the first foreigner to study full-time at the province's famous cooking school, the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine. Now she has given us a cookbook gathered on the spot from the kitchens of Sichuan, filled with stories and colorful descriptions of the region itself. Useful for the enthusiastic beginner as well as the experienced cook, Land of Plenty teaches you not only how to prepare the Sichuan recipes but also the art of chopping and to appreciate the textures of dishes.
Among this book's unique features: a full glossary of Chinese terms; Chinese characters useful for shopping; a practical introduction to the art of cutting; detailed lists of the 23 recognized flavor combinations and 56 cooking methods used in Sichuanese cuisine; 16 color pictures of the ingredients and finished dishes; double-page maps of the region; and Chinese characters for every recipe

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Editorial Reviews

The Independent
“With the official publication of her first book [Land of Plenty], Fuchsia Dunlop joins the ranks of literary food writers such as Elizabeth David and Claudia Roden.”
The Times [London]
“You may not think you need a book on the cooking of the Sichuan province in Southwest China but this small, perfect book is illuminating and appealing.”
Time Out
“Already one of the essential texts written in the English language.”
John Thorne
“The sort of eye-opening, groundbreaking, reporting-from-the-source kind of cookbook that until previously has been restricted to the provincial cooking of Italy and France. Now, out of the blue, we have a seminal exploration of one of China's great regional cuisines, written with intelligence, sympathy, and impressive attention to the smallest details. In short, it's been years since a cookbook has excited me as much as this one.”
Bruce Cost
“Fuchsia Dunlop's book shows an understanding of Sichuan cooking that is unique to my knowledge. It's for those on the lookout for real information about one of the world's most varied, full-flavored (and often misrepresented) cuisines.”
Nina Simonds
“Sichuanese food has intrigued and enraptured the Western palate for ages. Now, finally a book that takes you to the source and unlocks the secrets of one of China's most celebrated cuisines.”
Lindsey Bareham
“A masterly paean to the cooking of one of the least-known provinces of China and it looks set to become a classic.... This is the cookbook you didn't know you needed.”
Guy Dimond
“Fuchsia Dunlop is one of Britain's best writers on Chinese Food, and [Land of Plenty] makes this thrilling regional cuisine accessible to the amateur but enthusiastic... cook.”
Alan Davidson
It is a very long time since I saw a book which is so patently an absolute 'must.'
Publishers Weekly
Sichuan cuisine, renowned for its spicy notes and hot flavors, is famous in Chinese history and lore for its variety and richness of tastes and layers. Dunlop, who writes about Chinese food and culture for the Economist, has produced a volume that is sure to take its place among the classics of Chinese cuisine. Drawing on her experience as a student at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine in Chengdu, China and on many Chinese sources, she conveys the history and geography that make this cuisine so different from the other regions and so varied-the region boasts 5,000 different dishes. After discussing the tastes and textures that form Chinese cuisine in general, Dunlop describes cooking methods, equipment and the pantry before diving into the recipes. From such traditional dishes as Strange-Flavor Chicken (aka Bang Bang Chicken) to Hot-and-Sour Soup that have made the region famous, to the simple Zucchini Slivers with Garlic to the appealing Spicy Cucumber Salad, she engagingly describes dishes and their context, much in the style of Elizabeth David and Claudia Roden. Ending with sections entitled "The 23 Flavors of Sichuan" and "The 56 Cooking Methods of Sichuan," the book is a pleasure-both to cook from and to read. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
For several years in the early 1990s Dunlop, a British journalist, lived in Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan province, where she was the only foreigner ever asked to enroll in the rigorous professional course at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine. She also worked in restaurants throughout the city and studied cooking with the many home cooks who became her friends. Now she has written an impressive, wide-ranging introduction to Sichuan cuisine, which, she explains, is "legendary in China for its sophistication and amazing diversity." Most Westerners know Sichuan food as often hot and spicy, but it is actually more complex and subtle than that (there are in fact 23 "official" flavor combinations). The book begins with a detailed guide to cooking techniques (with a separate chapter on knife skills), equipment, and ingredients. Then there are hundreds of recipes for both home-style dishes and banquet food and some favorite street foods as well, all set in context through Dunlop's absorbing, thoroughly researched text. The book concludes with a source guide, lists of both those 23 flavors and "the 56 cooking methods of Sichuan," and a glossary of Chinese characters (used throughout the book). Highly recommended for most collections and where Chinese cooking is popular. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393051773
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/21/2003
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 148,494
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Fuchsia Dunlop is the author of two cookbooks and a memoir. She writes for The New Yorker, the Financial Times, and Saveur. A graduate of Cambridge University and a fluent Mandarin speaker, she lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 25, 2010

    Authentic Sichuan recipes

    it took a long time for truly authentic Sichuan recipes to come to our shores and it turns out it took a Brit who enrolled at a Sichuan culinary school to do it. For years when I lived in New York city, I used double cooked pork as benchmark dish against which to judge and compare all Sichuan restaurants. It was on every mennu, it was different than my Cantonese roots and I liked it. Little did I know how far the versions at almost all Chinese-American restaurants are from the real dish. Dunlop points you toward using the right cut of pork (belly is best) or alternative, use leeks (preferably hard to find Chinese leeks) and most important Sichuan sourced broad (not soy!) bean based chili paste. After that the dish is actually easy to make but amazingly deep in its earthy flavors and deeply satisfying. Leftovers may even taste better than the fresh made. The broad bean sauce is best if it's labeled Pixian sauce which is a label or trademark strictly governed by a provincial agency.

    Dunlop brings in the authentic with a nod toward what's practical to obtain in terms of ingredients. The techniques for the most part are straightforward by themselves so this book will get you cooking not only closer to authentic Sichuan but, I think, tastier and that's what matters most.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2006

    Teaches the Cuisine

    I've collected Chinese Cookbooks and used their recipies for close to 30 years. This cookbook taught me the principles of Sichuan Cuisine like none other

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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