Andrea Nguyen is an author, freelance writer, and cooking teacher. She is a contributing editor to Saveur and has written for the Los Angeles Times and San Jose Mercury News. Her first cookbook was Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, and Andrea’s site Viet World Kitchen is where you can learn about Vietnamese cuisine as well as other Asian culinary traditions. Last year, her book Asian Dumplings was published, and the site Asian Dumpling Tips was created as a place to share information about dumpling making. I’ve been enjoying the book Asian Dumplings since grabbing a copy as soon as it appeared. The book taught me how to make dumpling wrappers which were very fun to flatten, fill, and shape. I was sure Andrea would have an interesting list to share, so I asked her, what are you reading?
1. When I have spare moments these days, I leaf through David Thompson's Thai Street Food. It was released last year abroad and will be available in the U.S. come September. It's a giant book, weighing over eight pounds. Thompson and I were both invited speakers at the Sydney International Food Festival last October and the book had just been released. Few copies were available and he let me walk away with one of them.
The extra luggage weight was worth it! The book is full of amazing location photography and it also contains recipes that work. There is a dearth of good Thai cookbooks in English and Thompson knows his stuff. I learn new techniques and ingredient combination from his works all the time.
2. Michael Pollan's Food Rules is another book that I find myself leafing through now and again too. It's the opposite of Thompson's book in its small format, light weight, and single color print. It's not graphically sexy. However, Food Rules distills many ideas down for the American eating public. And though I'm one of the long-converted, I read Pollan's work and ponder ways of how I can communicate those eating and lifestyle parameters in what I do to explore and promote Asian foodways.
3. I also read the newspaper, food magazines such as Saveur, Sunset, and Bon Appetit and BusinessWeek, Wired, and GQ. A crazy mix of information but it works for me!
Thank you for participating, Andrea! Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.
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