- Paperback: 378 pages
- Publisher: University of Washington Press; 1st University of Washington Press Pbk. Ed edition (1 May 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0295981911
- ISBN-13: 978-0295981918
- Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.7 x 2.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 833,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Swallowing Clouds: A Playful Journey Through Chinese Culture, Language and Cuisine Paperback – 1 May 2002
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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
Top Customer Reviews
The personal tone and obvious passion for the subject matter make Zee's book eminently readable, and the variety of ways in which the material is presented keep the pages seeming fresh. At times I did feel slightly overloaded with the pictorial Chinese symbols, however I think that is due to my own mindset which wants to memorise them all immediately!
If you are hoping to learn the language, this book won't give you anything more than a few basics - and not even the everyday words that would get you by in another country. What it will give you, is an engaging, entertaining and illuminating view into the world of Chinese culture. And a mouth-watering one at that!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazingly all of these things are to be found in this book. Well, it is not a real cookbook, but its "few recipes" are augmented by descriptions of ingredients and cooking methods for specific dishes, entrancingly woven throughout the narrative. You will not look at Chinese characters on a menu, or Chinese restaurants and food, in the same way after being enlightened by this wonderful book.
With humour sense, with culture and incredible style. When I read people were reading it for the second time - an almost four hundred pages book!... But that is a book I know I will read again and again!
Thanks to all of you.