It’s HERE!

Pardon me while I jump up and down (virtually) for a while and do the happy Barbara dance, because a long-awaited cookbook is not only finally out, but it is out a full month earlier than I expected!

Yes, folks, Fuchsia Dunlop, the author of the definitive Sichuan cookbook in English, Land of Plenty, has taken herself to Hunan province in order to bring us an equally beautiful and well-researched volume on the cuisine of that region.

There is really a dearth of good cookbooks in English on Hunan food; the best is Henry Chung’s book, Henry Chung’s Hunan-Style Chinese Cookbook. (And, it is, alas, out of print.) After reading and cooking through Dunlop’s first book, I have been on pins and needles waiting for the publication of this second book.

Needless to say, look for a review of the book soon, along with a presentation of several recipes from it in the next week or so. Zak looked at the pictures and recipes and said, “So, uh, we are having Hunan for dinner right?”

(The answer was no, because I had a new chicken curry planned, and he suffered through it, though he kept glancing longingly at the cookbook as he dished up a second helping of rice for himself.)


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  1. I’ve been looking forward to this one, too. I lived in Hunan for two years (10 years ago) and miss the food greatly.

    If it is only half as good as the Sichuan book (known as “Sichuan Cookery” in the UK), then it will still be wonderful. I imported the Sichuan book to China and my Chinese friends keep asking to borrow it!

    I’m just hoping Ms Dunlop visits my province (Guangxi) next.

    Comment by Liuzhou Laowai — January 11, 2007 #

  2. Barbara,

    I hate to tell you this but its been out for over 3-4 months here in asia. I read through some of it while in HK over thanksgiving. The cover is very different (and more striking) than the US version (it’s got a very Mao-CCP look, and very red). I didn’t buy the book at the time, but i had a half hour to kill so i was able to skim/read through it.

    From what little I got to read, its still Dunlop at her best. I look forward to your review (you have some of the best reviews of cookbooks on the ‘net, period).

    I can’t wait to buy it (when the cash flow goes more my way…it’s quite expensive here).

    Comment by Rose — January 11, 2007 #

  3. Yikes, I should start saving the money now!

    Comment by tanna — January 11, 2007 #

  4. I know! I was so disappointed I couldn’t put it on my Christmas list. Woohoo! I look forward to your review.

    Comment by Christopher Gordon — January 11, 2007 #

  5. Well, this one goes on my birthday list for sure. It is also a book I can give my boss as a gift. Looking forward to the review.

    Comment by Maureen — January 11, 2007 #

  6. I’m awfully pleased that you view the Henry Chung as good, since I have it and like it a lot. I’ll have to get this one.

    Comment by Mary Ann — January 12, 2007 #

  7. It’s out?! I’ve been waiting for this one! I’m off to order it now!

    Comment by Danielle — January 12, 2007 #

  8. Luizhou–I am not surprised to hear that her book is popular in China, too. It is a great piece of writing, well-researched and beautifully put together.

    I second your vote for the subject of her third book!

    Rose, thanks for the encouraging words about the reviews–book reviews are some of my favorite writing to do, really.

    And yeah–I knew it was out in Asia–it was supposed to be out in the UK last year, and I think it was, but I didn’t torture myself with looking for it. I waited until it came here. Even though it was hard to do so….

    Mary Ann–Henry Chung’s Hunan cookbook is quite simply the best book on the subject in English. It is quite good and easy to cook from, but it isn’t easy to find, and it isn’t very in depth. It also helps to have color photographs–it builds cook’s confidence to know what a dish is supposed to end up looking like!

    Everyone else–a review is coming next week, along with some recipes. I already cooked one from it last night and we are doing one or two tonight, and probably more over the weekend….Next week’s posts will probably be devoted completely to this book!

    Comment by Barbara — January 12, 2007 #

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