The Last Chinese Chef

The recent release of featured film No Reservations reminds me of the equally engaging The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones.

Mones, author of Lost in Translation (1998) gives us a “page-turner both exciting and wise, one to nourish the head, the stomach, and the soul” ~David Henry Hwang.

In this The Pilot’s Wife meets the The Iron Chef, Maggie McElroy, a recently widowed L.A.-based food writer must fly to Beijing to sort out a paternity claim filed against her husband’s estate. It looks like international lawyer Matt has kept some devastating secrets. To finance her trip, she takes on an assignment to profile a new shining star in the Beijing culinary scene – an Eurasian named Sam who comes from a long line of illustrious imperial chefs and is picked as a contender in an upcoming culinary Olympic trial.

Mones begins each chapter with some fascinating, well-researched and mouth-watering tidbits on the history of Chinese cuisine and gastronomy that would entice foodies but as Sam’s audition banquet approaches and Maggie’s efforts for a DNA match become problematic, readers will be increasingly drawn to the undeniable bond between them. Early in her visit, Maggie scoffs at the idea that "food can heal the human heart", Mones smartly proves her wrong. Delicious!

Life is sweeter with blackberry cobbler

What better way to improve upon a gorgeous summer day, then to have a nice helping of blackberry cobbler, accompanied perhaps with a large scoop of icecream! Check out this deliciously fun article on NPR for a good recipe and head to the farmer's market for some fruit!

Pasty Update

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Despite our last pasty blog, we do not as yet have an official Michigan Pasty Day. Not to worry! The grand city of Calumet has come through with PastyFest 2007. Join fellow pasty lovers June 29 - July 1 for the pasty pull, the pasty bakeoff, the rutabaga shot put, pasty parade and the ever-popular pasty fitness walk. Toivo, the walking, talking pasty will be there so book your rooms early and say Ya to the U.P.

It's that time of year again...Cherry season!!

Cherries: CherriesCherries: Cherries

It's almost cherry season again, and that means we now have lots more reasons to think of creative ways to use this famous Michigan fruit. NPR has an article about cherries that includes several recipes. So grab your canvas bag and head to the farmer's market in July to gather up the sweet taste of Michigan cherries!

It's Not Official

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After much research we are sad to report there is not an official Michigan Pasty Day. Although Governor Romney proclaimed May 24, 1968 as Pasty Day and Governor Milliken declared May 25, 1972 as Pasty Day, these single-year proclamations do not do justice to the importance of the pasty in Michigan’s history and cuisine. Perhaps Governor Granholm can rectify this situation. Best place to get pasties? Jean-Kays Pasties in Marquette, across from the NMU Superior Dome

I Read It in the New York Times

nytimesnytimes

And that makes it official. Zingerman's, according to the front page of the May 3rd NYT business section, is one of the best run and most fun companies in the world. Did you know AADL library card holders can read the entire New York Times full-text back to 1851 through the AADL research page? The coolest part is the full-page images of historical editions with banner headlines, advertising and pictures.

Live from Ann Arbor

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The Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market kicks off Wednesday market days this week on May 2nd with a special Live broadcast of the Martin Bandyke Show from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the market. Following Martin's live broadcast Whole Foods Market will feature a tasting of locally grown produce from 10:30 a.m. to noon. So come on down Wednesday to the best Farmer's Market anywhere.

How I Learned to Cook

In How I Learned to Cook: Culinary Educations from the World’s Greatest Chefs, forty chefs share short sketches of their lives as chefs: what brought them to cooking, working as prep cooks, family backgrounds, kitchen mishaps, influences. And these are big names: Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Marcella Hazan.

I read the entries by chefs whose restaurants I have eaten in: Sara Moulton making beer steamed Det Burgers at the Del Rio, Gary Danko writing about his difficulties getting accepted as a student by Madeleine Kamman, Rick Bayless taping a show with Julia Child for In Julia’s Kitchen with the Master Chefs.

Then I read the rest. I especially liked the ones about getting a start in the kitchen and having to quickly figure things out, with the occasional mess up such as poaching the fish that was to be fried and frying the fish that was to be poached.

Hot Vegetarian Cookbooks, For Everyone!

The AADL has many cookbooks to browse through. If you’re looking for something different, or something yummy, why not check out some tried and true vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. They are sure to please both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Vegan With a Vengeance has simple and delicious recipes. By the same author is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The book is just that; all cupcake recipes that are sure to make any dessert lover’s hot list. Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker is packed with many easy recipes that require staples you’re sure to have around the house. Throw them in the slow cooker and come home to a tasty meal. Last but not least, The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen is full of authentic recipes rich in flavor. These books definitely make cooking fun, and even healthy.

Valentine's Sweetfest for Teens!

Valentine's CupcakeValentine's Cupcake

We're kicking it old school with cookie and cupcake decorating. Frosting and lots of toppings are the name of the game. Eat them yourself or save some for a sweet gift. For grades 6-12. See you this Sunday, Feb. 11 from 2-4 PM at the Downtown Library...

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