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The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore Hardcover – 20 Sep 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (20 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743238273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743238274
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 2.3 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 528,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Ken Hom, author of "Ken Hom's Top 100 Stir Fries"

Grace Young weaves wok stories and savory recipes with clear instructions; she makes you understand why the wok is one of the world's most popular cooking utensils.



E. N. Anderson, author of "The Food of China"

"The Breath of a Wok" is the best and most thorough book on the wok so far. No one else has stepped forward to evaluate the different materials and seasoning methods so thoroughly. It reminded me of wonderful days in the now-long-lost world of Hong Kong.



Ken Hom, author of "Ken Hom's Top 100 Stir Fries"Grace Young weaves wok stories and savory recipes with clear instructions; she makes you understand why the wok is one of the world's most popular cooking utensils.

E. N. Anderson, author of "The Food of China""The Breath of a Wok" is the best and most thorough book on the wok so far. No one else has stepped forward to evaluate the different materials and seasoning methods so thoroughly. It reminded me of wonderful days in the now-long-lost world of Hong Kong.

Amy Tan, author of "The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings" and "The Joy Luck Club" Grace Young takes us into the heart of wok cooking -- from the master cooks of China to the culinary luminaries of the United States. We're privileged to hear the age-old secrets of seasoning a wok and the stories behind family recipes. This is a cookbook that sizzles, sings, and ultimately has you sighing with pleasure.

Ken Hom, author of "Ken Hom's Top 100 Stir Fries" Grace Young weaves wok stories and savory recipes with clear instructions; she makes you understand why the wok is one of the world's most popular cooking utensils.

Paula Wolfert, author of "The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for a Passionate Cook" Grace Young's "The Breath of a Wok" is an exciting addition to my collection. I now at last understand "wok hay, " the sublime seared taste that only great stir-fry dishes possess. Anyone who loves Chinese food will learn much from this beautifully written book.

Pang-Mei Natasha Chang, author of "Bound Feet & Western Dress: A Memoir" I've been in Chinese kitchens all my life, but Grace Young has opened my eyes to the splendor of the wok and its place in Chinese culture. This tribute to the workhorse of Chinese cooking resonates with the passion of a travelogue and intimacy of a memoir.

Betty Fussell, author of "My Kitchen Wars: A Memoir" If you've never used a wok, you must have this book. If you've always used a wok, you must have this book. This book is not just about the care and feeding of the wok as a useful kitchen pan, but 'the wok as a way of life, ' a bridge between cultures for a Chinese American in search of history and destiny. It is also a remarkable collaboration between a writer and a photographer seeking to integrate text and images in a form that reveals what the wok symbolizes -- a craft, an art, a container of communal harmony and balance.

Ming Tsai, chef-owner of Blue Ginger and author of "Simply Ming" "The Breath of a Wok" will bring to you a new appreciation of Chinese culinary history. Grace takes us on an unforgettable journey, traveling throughout China's provinces to learn about this ancient culinary tool, accompanied by the phenomenal photography of Alan Richardson.

Deborah Madison, author of "Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets" "The Breath of a Wok" is a truly inspired book. I loved every piece of it -- from the journey into the complex and fading world of wok culture to the pictures of the people cooking to the recipes. This is the ideal book on food -- history, culture, people, "and" recipes all together, as they should be.

E. N. Anderson, author of "The Food of China" "The Breath of a Wok" is the best and most thorough book on the wok so far. No one else has stepped forward to evaluate the different materials and seasoning methods so thoroughly. It reminded me of wonderful days in the now-long-lost world of Hong Kong.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of public radio's national food show "The Splendid Table"(r) What a joy this book is. If you're a rookie cook, Grace Young is a generous, profoundly knowledgeable guide. If you live to stir-fry, Grace will be your new guru. "The Breath of a Wok" is an "A" list work.

About the Author

Richardson is an award-winning photographer.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Autamme_dot_com TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you enjoy Chinese food this book might be for you - even if you never plan to try and cook it for yourself.
In a nutshell you get a wonderful book prepared with love, care and feeling by the authors that takes you behind the lore and mystique of Chinese food and starts with the first key ingredient - a good wok!
Page after page of family memories related to the wok, culture and folklore, traditional methods of production and just "why" a wok is needed compared to a skillet or pan start the book off. A more comprehensive history and overview you could not ask for and it is a pleasurable read that imparts much information.
Did you know, for example, that the earliest woks date from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and that the wok was so highly praised that smaller pottery versions were even buried with many people to take them to the afterlife!
Important advice about choosing the right wok for your circumstances (for a modern western home) is provided and then it is back to the serious, honourable matters of "opening" the wok, that is to say the all-important preparation of the wok prior to use. It is vital to state that this book does not skimp on the information and whilst some might find it repetitive and long-winded and consider skipping large sections you are advised not to do so as what might be seen as repetition is, in fact, careful consideration of matters. Read, digest and you will be rewarded. In many cases no one opinion is given, but a range of different counterpoints and viewpoints that have been handed down through family generations and often never written down are duly presented.
Much information is also given about the care of the wok and practical importance of it. No throwing it in the dishwasher or attacking it with scouring products.
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Format: Hardcover
Searching for a specific result is usually a lot harder when you actually don't realize what it is you're looking for. Over the last 15 years I've owned quite a few woks of different types, cast-iron, non-stick, carbon steel, but I've never achieved that "take-away" smokey taste of a proper stir-fry, and for a long time I thought it was simply due to some unknown ingredient in the food that I didn't have.

Then I read this book.

While there are lots of books covering chinese cooking, I'm pretty sure that no other books spend the first 60 pages talking nerdy about the actual physical wok, its origins, how it's made and most importantly, about Wok Hay and how to achieve it. That said, I still haven't achieved Wok Hay, but I'm a lot closer than before.
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great book. i've been searching around for a wok cookbook that also tells the story of a wok and answers the question "why", not just "how". this book makes you really understand what the wok culture is about and what are the basics of using a wok and why things are done in a specific way.
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This is the bible for the wok all what you whant know about the wok is there good research how to saisoning the wok must have
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