The response to the new book has been fabulous, more than I expected actually. Banh mi buzz and fervor, as my friend and cookbook author Elizabeth Andoh emailed, can be felt all the way in Tokyo where she lives! Along with media inquiries, I’ve been fielding reader questions from folks who’d received and perused their pre-ordered copies of The Banh Mi Handbook. They asked terrific questions that I wanted to share with you. Maybe you’re wondering about the same stuff. In some cases below, I expanded on my original answer.
@SMTucker asked about pate: “Book arrived today...... LOVE that there is a bread formula. Less thrilled with the two pate options. If I want a complex pate, should I make a standard French pate de campagne?”
There are a lot of people who dislike pate for its livery association. If you’re trying to convert or persuade, take a cue from Candace, one of the banh mi recipe testers, who described it to a reluctant friend as “meat mayonnaise". @SMTucker is not in that boat of pate-phobes.
The two livery options in The Banh Mi Handbook are terrific and quick to prepare; I’ve served them to my family as guests. For something more old school, look to the liver pate recipe in Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, page 168. It has a mixture of meat, liver and nice amount of fatback. I love that recipe and can taste it as I type, but it makes three pounds and requires a steam bath baking and aging. For the banh mi book, I wanted to offer cooks a simple pate option that’s tastes good and can be accomplished in a small batch. If you my first Vietnamese cookbook (or get it from the library), that pate recipe is the bomb.