“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.”
“Already one of the essential texts written in the English language.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
It is a very long time since I saw a book which is so patently an absolute 'must.'
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.
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.