It’s been kind of an amazing year full of fantastic developments in my food writing career. Along with the Asian Tofu book release, both of my earlier works were selected by Cooking Light for their Top 100 Cookbooks of the Last 25 Years awards. (The awards are in celebration of the magazine’s 25th anniversary.) Each month, the editors thematically reveal their picks.
The March issue has the fourth installment of the series, and the editors chose seven works for the Asian cookbook category. I was blown away to see the above photo with Asian Dumplings and Into the Vietnamese Kitchen in the stack along with Grace Young’s Breath of a Wok, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Hot Sour Salty Sweet, Madhur Jaffrey’s At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, Hiroko Shimbo’s The Japanese Kitchen, and Eileen Yin Fei Lo’s Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking. Not only do I respect these authors (I have used their works for years) but I am also lucky to count most of them as friends. Wow.
Cooking Light did not invite entries to compete for these awards. The editors and test kitchen quietly and rigorously reviewed the merits of all books under consideration; the process is detailed on their site.
The magazine isn’t all about low-fat cooking, but rather about developing balanced lifestyles and consuming moderate amounts of good food. There’s wine, liquor, and desserts involved, as well as health and wellness. The editors and writers offer solid tips for home cooks. They don’t dumb down the cooking process as they encourage readers to make informed choices for their health.
My books were part of this two-page spread:
It’s really hard to read the actual copy but I wanted to show you the cool layout. Grace and Madhur’s books flank mine, which reflects how their works have influenced my writing.
Like Martha Stewart Living magazine, Cooking Light has a huge reach in the United States. One of my main goals as a food writer is to help people better understand Asian cooking and culture. These awards were totally unexpected and a definite career high point.
On top of all that, last Sunday, I met and shook hands with Colman Andrews, one of the founders of Saveur magazine. He gave me my first major break in food writing in the mid 1990s.
Not bad for a refugee who arrived not speaking a word of English, huh? As always, thanks for your continued support!