Whether or not you like to treat yourself or others to something nice for the holidays, consider these interesting items and worthy causes. Some are old and some are new. Several came out of the blue. I grouped these things according to interest.
I vowed to spend more time reading fiction in 2014 and my friend Shane Mitchell mailed me a copy of Violet Kupersmith’s debut novel, The Frangipani Hotel. It’sa collection of ghost stories that take place in Vietnam and abroad. She’s a remarkable first-time author who weaves dreamy, eerie threads to reflect the nuances of Vietnamese culture.
Aussie expat, chef and Hanoi Cooking Centre owner Tracey Lister has a totally below-the-radar book out on Vietnamese home cooking. Look for Real Vietnamese Cooking if you’re interested in what’s going on in kitchens in Vietnam. The photography is vivid and perfect for those who’ve traveled to Vietnam.
Vietnamese people are incredibly industrious and Helen Le embodies that. She produced her own cookbook to pair with her YouTube cooking channel. There’s a QR code and URL for a video to go with each recipe in Vietnamese Food with Helen’s Recipes. Her earnest, energetic effort represents the savvy, young generation of Vietnam. Helen was born in Vietnam and lives in Germany.
These days, Thai food is being demystified on many levels. Over the past year, I’ve enjoyed cooking from Leela Punyaratabandhu’s Simple Thai Food and Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok. Pick your poison – the first is more flexible than the second, or heck, get both. Among the recipes I’ve tried are grilled chicken and ribs.