I had an embarrassing realization yesterday – that I had completely missed out on two wonderful food bloggers test driving recipes in my cookbooks, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and Asian Dumplings. They published their humorous, heartfelt experiences in November and I was oblivious. Hit me on the head and say, “Duh, Andrea!” I felt like such a turkey, not just because November is all about Thanksgiving!
One of the food bloggers was Jennifer Reese of The Tipsy Baker, who wrote of the challenges and rewards of shopping for and making an entire meal from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. Jennifer’s piece appeared in the Northern California edition of Sunset magazine, which up until yesterday I thought I received. Lo and behold I’ve been getting the Southern California edition, which explains all the LA and San Diego stories! A Sunset editor kindly sent me the November 2009 issue in which Jennifer’s piece was printed. Below are the covers that got me mixed up and the generous 3-page spread.
If you received that Northern California issue of Sunset, check out Jennifer’s rollicking account of taking her copy of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen with her to New May Wah market on Clement in San Francisco. She’s even photographed holding the book. What’s more touching to my culinary soul is that she fell in love with mam tom – the funky purply shrimp sauce. Jennifer made a simple central Viet preparation of Minced Pork and Lemongrass and Shrimp Sauce (thit heo xao mam ruoc, page 132) and described the dish as “ambrosial.” She tackled the banana blossom salad, water spinach and coconut cassava cake too. Reading Jennifer’s story of how my cookbook helped her get over her anxiety of shopping for and cooking with unfamiliar ingredients put a huge grin on my face. Check out more of Jennifer’s writing at her site: Tipsybaker.blogspot.com
Similarly, April of The Hungry Engineer dove into Asian Dumplings with gusto. She’s a smart cookie who writes with an earnestness that charms and draws you into her words. April recounts how she questioned my suggestion of using the wooden dowel rolling pin for making Asian dumpling wrappers and then becomes a convert, “busting out wrappers like nobody's business.” She thoughtfully read the book to prepare herself to make pork and napa cabbage dumplings, as well as the chile oil. There are people who’ve said to me, “Asian food is so time consuming. Why do you want to make dumpling wrappers from scratch?” Read April’s post on cooking from the Asian Dumplings cookbook and find out!