Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Earnest Summation

Melvil Dewey has shamed me into following through with my long overdue report on Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen

I made 52 recipes from this superb book.

Here's how they broke down:

Worth the price of the book -- 4*
Great: 11
Good: 23
So-so: 12
Flat-out bad: 3

Here's my favorite line, which comes from the (amazing) recipe for stir-fried beef with french fries: "Carefully add the potatoes to the oil, which will suddenly boil and sound like falling rain."

That's inspired recipe writing. Andrea Nguyen has produced a smart, lavishly illustrated, wonderfully accessible and occasionally even poetic introduction to an extremely exotic and challenging cuisine. You can't appreciate the staggering range and vibrancy of Vietnamese cooking unless you go to Vietnam, but working your way through this book is a start. Definitely a shelf essential. 

*minced pork with lemongrass and shrimp sauce, p. 132. If you make nothing else from the book, make this. 

53 comments:

  1. Melvil Dewey9/30/09, 3:24 PM

    Didn't really mean to administer shame. I just like to look over at that column on the right of your blog and see at a glance which books are shelf-essential and which are not. Thanks for summing up. Sounds like I need to own this one. Mrs. Dewey won't be happy to hear that.

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