I’ve been on a book kick lately. Well, I’m always on a book kick, but this one is culinary. I mostly cook Vietnamese food (my husband won’t have it any other way), but I don’t like to cook the same dishes all the time. I’d rather not cook the same dish more than twice in six months. I have a collection of recipes gleaned from friends and relatives, and a couple of favourite books about Vietnamese food that I know inside out, but I’ve been craving new ideas.
In February, I added Kim Fay’s Communion, A Culinary Journey through Vietnam to my library. This is a lot more than just a cookbook. It’s primarily a memoir / travelogue but it includes eleven recipes too. Then came Secrets of the Red Lantern, by Pauline Nguyen. This book is equally a narrative and a cookbook, and takes the reader along on a journey as well, a very personal journey of both the author and her family. Finally, Vietnamese Streetfood by Pauline Lister and Andreas Pohl arrived last week. This one is truly a cookbook, with recipes from all over the country. All three books offer tempting recipes, and I’ve tried a few with great results. Several more are marked for meals in the near future.
One book that’s still on my TBR list is Appetites and Aspirations in Vietnam: Food and Drink in the Long Nineteenth Century, by Erica J. Peters. It may be a while before I get to it though. I’d love to hear from anyone who has taken a look at it.
I plan to post reviews soon for the first three books, but in the mean time, check out Adam Bray’s great review of Communion on his blog, Fish Egg Tree, and Mark Lowerson recently did a review of Vietnamese Streetfood on his blog, Sticky Rice.