A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family

A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family

by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

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Overview

"Starting with charred fried rice and ending with flaky pineapple tarts, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan takes us along on a personal journey that most can only fantasize about--an exploration of family history and culture through a mastery of home-cooked dishes. Tan's delectable education through the landscape of Singaporean cuisine teaches us that food is the tie that binds."

--Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles



After growing up in the most food-obsessed city in the world, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan left home and family at eighteen for America--proof of the rebelliousness of daughters born in the Year of the Tiger. But as a thirtysomething fashion writer in New York, she felt the Singaporean dishes that defined her childhood beginning to call her back. Was it too late to learn the secrets of her grandmothers' and aunties' kitchens, as well as the tumultuous family history that had kept them hidden before In her quest to recreate the dishes of her native Singapore by cooking with her family, Tan learned not only cherished recipes but long-buried stories of past generations.



A Tiger in the Kitchen, which includes ten authentic recipes for Singaporean classics such as pineapple tarts and Teochew braised duck, is the charming, beautifully written story of a Chinese-Singaporean ex-pat who learns to infuse her New York lifestyle with the rich lessons of the Singaporean kitchen, ultimately reconnecting with her family and herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401341282
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 02/08/2011
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 936,806
Product dimensions: 5.04(w) x 7.88(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York-based writer who has covered fashion, retail and home design (and written the occasional food story) for the Wall Street Journal. Before that she was the senior fashion writer for In Style magazine and senior arts, entertainment and fashion writer for the Baltimore Sun. Born and raised in Singapore, she crossed the ocean for college in the U.S. after realizing that a) she wanted to be a journalist and b) if she was going to be as mouthy in her work as she was in real life, she'd better not do it in Singapore.

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A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
LisaLynne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family made me hungry. Really hungry. I love Asian food of all sorts, and listening to author Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan describe these family favorites in such loving detail made me want to try to make them myself, because I just knew takeout was going to be a disappointment. Dumplings, soups and special desserts, often tied to holiday celebrations and memories of family dinners, are all on the menu in her book, subtitled ¿A Memoir of Food and Family.¿ Her attempts to reconnect with her family and childhood through not just recipes but the act of preparing them, will be achingly familiar to many readers.Tan had a comfortable childhood in Singapore. It seems her parents were expecting a boy, but instead, they got a feisty, independent daughter who left for America at 18. In her home, cooking was a task left to the maids, but she has vivid memories of the cooking that went on in the homes of her grandmothers and aunties. As a professional journalist, living in New York, she begins baking as a sort of therapy:In this cloud of cinnamon-scented zen, the pressures of New York would melt away. Outside the kitchen, life was complicated and meandered in unpredictable and uncontrollable ways. But with my mixer in hand and two sticks of softened butter before me, the possibilities were thrilling and endless and the outcome was entirely governed by me.She shares some incredible stories about her family history, many of them stories that she never heard until she began spending time with her aunties. Cooking is a great distraction; you have something to do with your hands, something to concentrate on, so you speak more freely, less self-consciously, so I¿m not surprised that it led to some great conversations. Besides, you have to do something while you¿re waiting for dough to rise or rice to cook. Gossip and story-telling are a great way to kill time. One auntie tells the story of her brief stint as an opium courier. There are the stories about what Singaporean fiances have to do to win their wives (mainly: bring money and eat disgusting things). Talk about the festivals in Singapore, what one feeds a Hungry Ghost, and why cats have to be shooed away from funerals. It¿s a small whirlwind of Singaporean culture, with a side of chicken rice.It¿s the descriptions of the food that really got me. My stomach rumbled just reading them:One of the dishes I desperately wanted to know how to make was tau yew bak, a stew of pork belly braised in dark soy sauce, sweet and thick, and a melange of spices¿When done well, the meat is so tender you feel almost as if you are biting into pillows. The gravy is salty, sweet, and gently flecked with traces of ginger, star anise, and cinnamon ¿ just perfect drizzled over rice.In some ways, Tan comes off as a little selfish and spoiled, with all the talk of ignoring her aunties¿ hard work and leaving the cooking to the maids, but these are stories of her childhood. Being laid off from her job at the Wall Street Journal gave her the time and freedom to spend time in Singapore with her family, learning to cook the old family recipes, but my poor practical heart screams, ¿what about job hunting? those flights are expensive! what about your husband, stuck at home?¿ If you can manage it, that¿s great and I am desperately jealous, but it¿s hard for me to imagine.
EmThomas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As someone who is also a bit of an outsider in my own family, this was a really interesting read for me. I'm not sure my own family is worth the trouble of trying to get to know again, but it's nice to see that you can, in fact, "go home again" sometimes. I enjoyed the great descriptions of the simple and more complicated recipes, and really wish some of those bread recipes had been included! I guess I'll have to check out the book they're from, as well. Job well done!
amy1705 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was an interesting read of a woman rediscovering her family history through the food that they cooked. I liked the insights of her family providing the truth that people are similar no matter the culture. The recipes are very appetizing and I look forward to cooking several of them.
bknrd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable food odyssey about a woman going back to family in Singapore. I enjoyed reading about the food of a place that we don't hear much about. Funny and endearing.. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good food book.
Emidawg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author talks about her grandmother and the recipes she loved but were lost to her because of language barrier and age. The author didn't realize what she had lost until she grew older and found herself wanting for childhood comfort foods.I enjoyed this book as I have gone through a similar situation trying to rediscover the recipes that my Polish Great Grandmother used to make. Unfortunately I don't have the resources to go back to the old country to try and find lost family so I have to rely on the internet for answers.I would have preferred the recipes that were located in the back of the book to have been at the end of the pertinent chapters. It would have made them easier to find (as I didn't noticed them until I had finished the book!). The recipes sound wonderful but even with a decent local resource for Asian goods (D.C. metro area) I am afraid that I will never manage to make them because of the odd ingredients.
lalbro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Food and family promise much to readers. And A Tiger in the Kitchen gives you both. I resonated with the author's focus on anything but cooking upbringing that she described, and the hopes and dreams for where a focus on education can take you. And I too found my way back into the kitchen as an adult. So, much of the enjoyment that I took from this book was in thinking about those similarities....and the notable differences in the bland American-English cuisine that was featured on my family's table as compared to the flavor-filled Singaporean meals that she was raised on.I agree with other reviewers below, who found the writing repetitive and clunky, buy found that reading it a chapter at a time before bed over several weeks made those flaws less noticeable than if I'd read it all at once..And I don't think I'll use her recipies -there are just too many other sources.So, not the best food memoir, but not the worst either.
julko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoy memoirs about food and family, so A Tiger in the Kitchen is exactly the type of book I like. Overall, I enjoyed it and thought it was well written. I could have done without the sections in NY as well as the continued self-doubt about being able to cook, long after she had started the project. However, I enjoyed learning about her culinary heritage.
juli1357 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a big disappointment. As a foodie who has traveled to Singapore, I have either tried or am familiar with most of the foods Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan writes about. Her tepid descriptions of these foods and her efforts to recreate them do not do them justice. Singapore is one of the great food cities of the world, but you wouldn't know it from reading this book. This is an author who normally writes about fashion, retail and home design and it shows. She has no business writing a book about food, much less one that is promoted as a memoir. Her approach to both subjects is superficial at best. To experience a food memoir done right, check out Gabrielle Hamilton's "Blood, Bones & Butter."
booksNyarn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"I was born in the year of the Tiger with a lucky star over my head and a knife in my hand." (p.7) This is how Tan introduces us to her childhood in Singapore. After a childhood of generational intent and dreams, Tan shows a life full of ambition and food. While she was happy to build her life in New York, Tan missed her home dishes even as she learned to appreciate meatloaf and bread. After her grandmother's death, she realizes that she has no concept of the dishes she grew up with and makes plans to spend the next year in Singapore, learning in the kitchens of her aunts and mother. As she learns the family recipes, she also learns details about her family's history. Food is just the beginning as Tan realizes she has so much more to gain than just recipes. Through failures and successes in cooking, the kitchen becomes a gateway into Tan's family past and a lifeline that connects her in the present. I love culinary memoirs. Tan's descriptive prose of her time in the kitchen, both in her tiny space in New York and in her relatives' spaces in Singapore, drew me in. I got lost not only in her family history, but in the process of cooking. As someone who feels that food is a definite way to connect to family, I really enjoyed the details. Even as she moves back and forth between reminiscing about her childhood and the present day, I had no trouble keeping pace with the story. Fans of Michael Ruhlman's Soul of a Chef or Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone should enjoy this memoir, which is a personal journey into Tan's family life and kitchen.
bruce_krafft on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book about going home to Singapore and learning how to make the food of her family. Along the way she learned more about her families past and how to deal with its present. Growing up in Singapore she was too busy to learn how to cook as most girls do at the sides of their mothers and aunts. Now an adult with a career in New York City and living far from home, she feels its lack. So thirty-something Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, born in the year of the tiger, decides to spend time visiting her family to have them teach her how to cook family favorites. She wished she could take a year off, spend time with her family and learn how to cook the family favorites, but with the economy she didn¿t feel that she could take time off from her job, after all jobs are hard to come by. And then she was laid off. So began a year of spending time with her family and learning how to cook from them. Included are some of the recipes that she learned to make.You can almost hear the different voices as you read along, telling the different stories of their lives as they taught her to cook. You can relate to her fear of facing these formidable women and worrying whether she could measure up.DS(Bruce's evil twin :-))
BrokenTeepee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wish I had the opportunity to go back and learn from my grandmother but she is long gone and I only have a few stored memories from my childhood. This memoir is a poignant tale of one woman's search for her history through cooking. Learning how to cook the food of her culture teaches her much more than just how to finish a recipe.The stories of her interactions with her family members are moving and her evolution as a cook is a great story for anyone who loves to spend time in the kitchen. Recipes are included in the back of the book but a cook like me would wish for more. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and know I will enjoy trying the recipes - exotic ingredients notwithstanding.
DrJohnny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as a part of the Early Reviewers program. The book I read was labeled ¿Advance Uncorrected Proofs ¿ Not For Resale.¿In the first line of the book the author says, ¿¿ I should have been less of a rebel.¿ Consequently, a couple of the things she never learned during her childhood in Singapore were how to cook and the traditional recipes of her family. The rest of the book is a reiteration of learning to cook and those traditional family recipes. The former she did mostly by struggling through trying various items from various cuisines. One does not get the impression that she was tremendously successful. However, on learning the old, traditional, Singaporean dishes she remembered, as well as lots of tidbits about cooking in general, she returned to her family in Singapore and learned from her aunties. At this task she seemed to cook and learn, enjoy the love of family and relive family and societal customs and curiosities. Her recollections of meetings with her aunties, in their kitchens, cooking and gossiping were great. The recipes and techniques were interesting (I¿m a pretty serious amateur cook), but the family interactions and recollections and revelations were even more tasty. I found the descriptions of her struggling through various recipes/cuisines in her own kitchen tedious. Other reviewers have noted occasional excursions into ¿chick-lit¿, and I guess that might describe the feelings of me not enjoying certain sections. Overall, this was a mostly enjoyable book to read and learn from.
SignoraEdie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love to cook and From my own experience I know that a heritage that takes you to a foreign culture is very much reflected in the activities in the kitchen and the meals that grace the table. So, I was thrilled to receive an advanced reader's copy of this book.I had very little knowledge of Singapore or the cuisine so I found the descriptions of the author Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan very informative. I especially like the descriptions of her interactions with her family members. Having been taught family recipes by my own grandmother, I could relate to the value of sharing and receiving such information.However, I found the book more about Cheryl's evolution as a young woman as she transitioned from her childhood experience to her adult experience, relocating herself as a strong independent woman and then returning to her past to begin to learn her ancestral cuisine.It definitely left me wanting to find the recipe for Potato Rosemary Bread!
4daisies on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book more for the insight into the Singaporean culture than the descriptions of the food, even though those descriptions were richly detailed. Food has such a strong emotional pull in families of any culture and can bring out so many memories, good and bad. The stories of Tan's family and their lives in Singapore were what bound the work like the 5 spice blend present in many of the recipes. It was heartwarming to see how Tan's quest to learn how to make the foods that filled her memories of childhood and her culture brought together her entire family even though there were some difficult estrangements.The author included many of the recipes in the back of the book for those brave souls who feel up to the challenge, I am not among that group as I have far too many books to read to have time for cooking- It's much less mess to read about cooking than to actually do it. ;) My hat is off to Ms. Tan for her great efforts and accomplishment in learning the complex skills required for these deceptively simple dishes and executing them in her tiny New York kitchen.
itbgc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a delightful treat! Amy Tan meshes with Ruth Reichl in this memoir written by an American immigrant from Singapore. I loved Ms. Tan's style of writing--friendly, down-to-earth, funny. I loved the cooking lessons and the bread-making adventures. As I read this book, I HAD to order "The Bread Baker's Apprentice . . ." (Peter Reinhart), and now I absolutely must try some Singaporean food (once I figure out where it is available)!! Most of all I enjoyed the stories of Cheryl Tan's personal life, her family, and her Chinese ancestors. It was fun to read about the different holidays and traditional foods. I plan on trying at least one recipe from this book. Unfortunately, most of the recipes seem unworkable for me due to the unusual ingredients. I'll have to see how that all works out once I hit an Asian market. I think this would be a very enjoyable book for anyone who enjoys cooking and/or the Asian culture.
macart3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cheryl Tan, after growing up in Singapore, moving to the US to pursue her journalistic dreams, and being married a while, decides to go back to Singapore and reconnect with her family through cooking. I found that the writer told a lot more than showed us and that family stories were told in big chunks instead of over cooking. Well, I suppose she was too busy taking down notes to make the food. It just seems to me that there is a glut of books, especially women with great jobs doing a 180 and suddenly have this desire to be a housewife. I myself am a woman and I love to cook and bake, but I also have a job. I don't make it a priority in my life. I know that Tan has a job, but it's mentioned in the periphel and no where near as heavily emphasized on the baking and cooking. I wonder what message this is sending to men and women who read it. In the end, there are, I'm sure better written books than this.
erin1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book since the subject is so appealing and right up my alley - asian food, travel and family. It should have worked but instead, I found Tan whiny and annoying. I really had to force myself to finish the book. Tan is a thirty-something writer living in New York City who returns to Singapore to rediscover her heritage through food and cooking. The story starts out promising but I soon tired of the constant guilt about not having kids (she writes about getting massive pressure from her family, which is understandable especially in that culture) and the self doubt about cooking was tiresome. We get it, you can't cook as well as your aunt/mother/grandmother, but at least you're trying. I found the story line confusing and hard to follow. I did love the description of the cooking and the traditions behind the meals. Tan's family is very close despite being thousands of miles apart.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have almost nothing in common with the Singapore writer of this book. I married young, started my family early, and both my husband and I have Southern roots. But like her, food is a big part of my family tradition. Reading her journey to discovery her culinary heritage reminded me of the big family traditions we had back in Texas and the meals I enjoyed at my grandparents homes. It also made me a little hungry, but not super hungry, because I'm not quite sure I wanted to sample all these recipes! But it was a great, funny, enlightening read. What dedication her family had! What love put into food!Thanks to the LT Early Reviewers program for the chance to read this book.
BiZMamma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sadly, this is one of the few less-than-three-star reviews I have written, and so I feel I need to do a little explaining on why -- especially since so many readers evidently did enjoy A Tiger in the Kitchen. I read a short review of the book, and then "won" an uncorrected proof copy to read and review. I certainly could identify with the general premise of the book: 30-something woman starts to feel too unconnected to her roots, and worries that the history and traditions of her family might be slipping away from her. Of course, food plays a major part in the memories we have of our loved ones, and so the author takes a (somewhat) self-imposed sabbatical to travel back to her home country of Singapore and cook with her mother, aunts, and grandmother. Super, right?When I read an ARC, I have to try to silence the editor's voice in my head (is that you, Aunt Andy?). It is still an UNCORRECTED proof, so I have to let go of a lot of things. Unfortunately, there were SCADS of weird and irritating things in the book. First of all, it was pretty disjointed. The author goes back and forth in time, without always alerting the reader. Since it seemed like a pilgrimage of sorts, over the course of a year, it would have helped to tell the story in a more linear fashion. She is also forever saying, in one breath, oh I couldn't keep up with all the ingredients and measurements, and then in the next sentence, she goes on about how easy it is to make this dish. Huh? Here is another example (from the text; she is talking about a specific dish):"The result was okay -- not as delicious as professionally cooked chicken rice. But it truly was a amazing. Biting into the chicken and chasing it with garlicky, greasy rice, this group of loudmouths was reduced to a long stretch of silence." So, was it just okay, or so amazing it induced a bunch of people to be at a loss for words? Contradictions like this abound, and I can't stand them! The writing seemed juvenile, like she was following a instructions from a writing class: Start with a little joke or intriguing sentence, like "There are numerous things to love about my Auntie Alice." Then build, and describe those things. Then get into the things that are irritating and weird and uncomfortable and strange. And then finish with a conclusion statement. Ugh!Are you from Singapore, or do you have a Chinese background? Do you live in New York City or some other large cultural hub where you have easy access to an authentic China Town area? You might like this book. It might trigger memories for you, and you might understand some of the foreign language sprinkled in the text. If I had spent money on this book, I probably would have given it one star and been angry to be out the cash. I probably won't look at this book ever again, except to use it as an example of a bad, bad book. Harsh, yes. Unfortunate, totally.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an inspiring, funny, and hunger-inducing memoir about a young woman who goes back to her Singaporean roots and begs her Aunties to teach her to cook. Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, a feisty, intelligent, and rebellious Chinese girl, grew up with more freedom and independence then most young Chinese women. She left Singapore for college in the US at age 18 and was quickly westernized in her views and beliefs. At 30 years old she finds herself jobless in New York, increasingly out of touch with her Chinese family, and wishing she knew how to cook, a skill she scorned as a child despite growing up with a host of Aunties who were especially skilled. She begins making trips home to learn the dishes of her childhood and, naturally, learns a whole lot more in the process.Lovely book! To start with the food descriptions are fantastic. I can just smell the thick pineapple jam simmering and the braised duck sizzling in the wok. The writing is clean and fresh, not an imitation of one the many popular food writers, but uniquely her own. Her various family members are portrayed with love and humor. Cheryl talks about the highs and lows of learning how to create delicious food with such honesty and clarity that I kept finding myself nodding along. I remember so well what it feels like to slave all weekend over a project that ultimately fails or to whip up a miracle that people can't stop eating. A Tiger in the Kitchen is a charming book that anyone who takes pleasure in cooking will appreciate.
doomjesse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿I was born in the year of the Tiger with a lucky star over my head and a knife in my hand. Based on the time I was born and the fact that I was a dynamic and aggressive Tiger, I was already destined to be sharp, intelligent and incredibly ambitious. But with the additional star to guide me, I was headed for a sparkling future, one that I would sail through with ease, gathering money and a great deal of success along the way. Instead, the moment I pushed into this world, growling and crying, I took the knife in my hand and stabbed at the star, snuffing it out. In that moment, a fighter was created¿a person who knew she would have to work doubly hard to compensate for her dead lucky star, often stubbornly wandering off, heeding no one and charting a path of her own. ¿This is the story that my family¿s fortune-teller tells. And for years, much of it appeared to be true.¿ Thus begins Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan¿s memoir of her year ostensibly learning how to cook while in reality seeking a relationship with her extended family. Any account of multiple generations sharing and learning in the kitchen will hold me enthralled¿it seems like some universal truth that¿s re-discovered every few years. This book doesn¿t disappoint as Cheryl relates her deepening ties with and better understanding of her aunts, parents and grandparents, both alive and deceased, while allowing the well-known Singaporean love for food to shine through. I feel she could have fleshed her family out more, but that¿s not really the point. Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan has been kind enough to allow us a glimpse of her personal odyssey. She¿s brutally honest throughout, sharing her flaws as well as her triumphs. She starts out very much as a beginner¿tied to the exactitude of measuring cups and recipe books and in a panic if told to cook by taste. Taking on a bread-baker¿s challenge during the same time frame (she¿s never baked in her life either,) she also reveals that she bakes bribes for her husband in an effort to reconcile him to her compulsive shopping habits. And she freely describes the failed dishes as well as the criticisms of family over what she believes are successes. There¿s more, though. The book touches on cultural mores. The engagement rite, for instance, fascinates and amuses. Too, Ms. Tan has been considerate enough to include at the end of the book the recipes used as chapter devices so that anyone desirous of attempting Singaporean cuisine may try his or her hand at it. Overall, I¿d recommend this as a pleasant accompaniment to heavier literary fare. It¿s a quick and fun read.
dhelmen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fascinating and amusing exploration of family through food. Part cookbook, part memoir Ms. Tan weaves her personal story and Singaporean foodways together into a narrative which draws the reader in. The mouthwatering descriptions of key dishes make one glad that the recipes are included. A very good read for people interested in food and culture!
Lorelai2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the new foodie memoir,A Tiger in the Kitchen, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan tells the story of how she went back to her homeland of Singapore,after being away since the age of eighteen, to learn how to cook those traditional dishes that brought back the best memories of her childhood. In taking lessons with her aunties,Cheryl also learned more than she expected about her family's background and history,making her appreciate those long held traditions that tie them all together. I was thrilled to have won a copy of this enchanting book from Library Thing and hopefully will be joining the throng of culinary readers who are savoring every delightful morsel and page. There's nothing like a good meal to bring a family together and even preparing for one can be it's own reward.
uttara82 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I placed a bid to receive this book because I gathered this was a food memoir, and one exploring a culture that I hadn't given much thought to in the past. 'Tiger in the kitchen' is about the year or so the author spent trying to record in mind and on paper all the cooking that went on in her family's kitchens in Singapore to create foods (and traditions) that she'd enjoyed as a child. Food memoirs are always part-history, part-culture, and this book also offers interesting insights into Singaporean life, history, and society, apart from of course, the food. However, that's not all this book is about. In my opinion, the real story is about how a woman from Singapore (raised in a culture that values women's excellence in the kitchen, and a home that taught her to ignore these wifely virtues) realizes that cooking might actually be well worth her time. Her journey not only includes the Singaporean food of her childhood, but she also dwells on her experiment baking every single item on 'The Bread Baker's Apprentice', which forms a sub-plot. She also writes about her visit to a village in China where her family is originally from.On the whole, it was a good read, but I've read better, much more engaging food memoirs, such as Madhur Jaffrey's 'Climbing the mango trees', Shoba Narayan's 'Monsoon Diary' and Diana Abu-Jaber's 'The language of baklava'. I felt that writing could have been a little more polished, and less disconnected, some recipe details could have been omitted and instead included in the 'Recipe' section at the end of the book.
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cheryl Tan never bothered to learn how to cook as the other female members of her household had while growing up in Singapore. After graduating from journalism school at Northwestern and after working for other papers, she eventually landed a job with the Wall Street Journal. She began to crave the dishes that she had grown up eating in Singapore. She decided to go back to Singapore to learn from remaining family members (mostly aunts) how to prepare the dishes she remembered. Unfortunately the author skips around so much that it is hard to keep track of whether she is in New York or Singapore at a given moment. One minute she's making something in Singapore with her aunt; the next she is in New York preparing some Italian dish. She backtracks, not following any sort of chronological order, throughout the book. (There is a marriage in the book, and later it is before the marriage again.) As I began to read more of the book, I decided that her book would have been better on the screen than in written form. I could also tell that this was a young writer more so than a middle-aged or older one because of the style of writing employed. It's very conversational and has a very "chick-lit" feel to it. I prefer other genres of literature so the writing quality did not pass muster with me. There are a few recipes at the end of the volume, but most of these are not going to able to be made by American cooks who lack access to some of the key ingredients. This review is based on an Advance Readers Copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review of the book would be written.