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"In this lyrical work, theoretical physicist Zee steps outside his specialty to write about his true loves - Chinese cooking, language, and culture. Zee's format is elegant: he takes a common food on the menu of any Chinese-American restaurant, explicates the Chinese characters designating the food, and relates charming anecdotes and history associated with the food. 'Swallowing Clouds,' for instance, refers to two written characters in Chinese that designate wonton; in Old China, Zee explains, clouds of steam billowed up from the pot of broth carried on the end of a bamboo pole by street peddlers of wonton soup." - Kirkus Reviews "Charming... a study of the very nature of Chinese culture. Zee has a quirky, personal style that draws the reader in." - Anne Tyler, Washington Post Book World "The most delightful food book of the year, Swallowing Clouds is a happy blending of instruction and amusement in the language, culture, and cuisine of China." - Minneapolis Star-Tribune "One of the most interesting and unique books on Chinese food... Family anecdotes, folklore, and good sketches help the author present a new understanding and meaning behind this rich and complex cuisine." - Christian Science Monitor "A truly delightful literary compendium of wit, wisdom, and how-to... Zee provides the amateur linguist with enough clues to demystify the pictographs and history associated with such exotic dishes as 'Woman Song's Fish Broth' and 'Buddha Jumping Over the Wall.'" - Newsday Nominated for the James Beard Award and the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award