I very much like "Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen". This is a very smart book that truly does provide Westerners with some great healthful recipes for both Chinese medicine practitioners and laypersons.
It appears to be a response to the gaping holes in the marketplace for a decent book on Chinese medicine dietetics. While their stated purpose (articulated in their cover letter that accompanied the review copy) is to provide practitioners with a book to suggest to their patients, I also believe that it is a great book for Chinese medicine practitioners as well.
Henry Lu's Chinese Natural Cures: Traditional Methods for Remedies and Prevention and Paul Pitchford's Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition have pretty much owned the marketplace since I've been following such things, but this book promises to rise to the top of the list. It certainly has in my mind. The Lu and Pitchford books are good at listing various herbs that are edible and various foods that have medicinal properties.
However, Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen is more of a cookbook than a list of food/herbs (though it includes both). They're simple, though they do not appear to skimp on taste or presentation. There are also copious variations that you can explore as well as little sidebars that provide additional insight as to the cultural backstory regarding various ingredients.
This book is great for laypersons in that it describes the benefits of a particular recipe in common terms, but it also includes the same information using TCM terms practitioner. Many (but not all) require that one has access to an Asian market.
The main portion of this book, the recipes, are organized by main dishes, soups, desserts, etc. There are also chapters that explain some of the basics of Chinese medicine. What the authors present is the tried-and-true Chinese medicine that is most commonly taught in American schools. I consider this a good thing. There is plenty of good information out there, but it isn't all translated into English. As such, some authors have to fill in the gaps with their own musings. This doesn't seem to be the case with this book. What you read here will not be confusing when comparing the content to other books on Chinese medicine.
I look forward to trying out some of these recipes because of their health benefits, but also because they're so well written.
-Al Stone, L.Ac., DAOM
April 22, 2010