Customer Reviews of The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking: Techniques and Recipes
Really great Chinese cookbook that has detailed explanations.
Barbara Tropp lived in Taiwan, where she ate and learned all about real Chinese food. Yes, real Chinese food is time consuming. Today there are shortcuts, and some shortcuts work better than others. Mom used to spend about 6 hours a day cooking (this is considered normal in Chinese families). To spend time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious balanced family meals is no small task. Needless to say, I grew up on real Chinese food. I didn't get a chance to learn all of Mom's cooking before she moved on, and this book managed to fill in the gaps. Barbara's explanations are great because she starts from the point of view of a beginner, explaining everything in detail. I really like that. It is those tips (usually considered to be common knowledge, and therefore skipped by many cookbooks) that makes the difference. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
I find that many people today don't want to spend time to prepare meals that have nutrition. And Americans don't spend enough time eating at the dinner table. Some American friends I know spend only 15-20 minutes eating dinner, just chowing down, not appreciating the food. Real food takes time to prepare from scratch.
I personally believe that real food made from scratch is nourishing, the way God intended for us to eat. We are meant to enjoy our food - eating with pleasure and relish, that's the way God intended for us. If we are meant to eat just for nutrition, why do we have taste buds and different tastes? There's no point in that if we are not meant to enjoy food. And if God meant for us to enjoy what we eat, we should spend at least 40-50 minutes per meal eating. It takes that long to thoroughly chew our food, tasting each bite, and enjoy. It is the enjoyment, appreciation, and thoroughly chewing, that we get the maximum nutrition out of our meals.
Most food (packaged, bottled, even frozen) have so much sodium benzoate, preservatives, MSG, E221 (sodium sulphites), these are all chemicals put into the food to prolong shelf life (this is a strict mandate from the FDA - foods packaged must have preservatives). Even fresh meats that are not locally produced must have preservatives in them in order to be shipped out of state. Our population is getting sicker and sicker from all these chemicals (and creating havoc with our medical system).
So eat real food. Spend time preparing, eating. For those people who don't care about eating, don't pay any attention to this review.
Taught me basic Chinese cooking technique
I wanted one Chinese cookbook that would teach me all the basics of cooking.
This is it! (And I'm still learning.)
Ok, it's very time consuming. But it's worth it! I've even learned little hints that have helped me in all of my cooking! For instance, now I can bread and lightly fry or bake any item without it falling apart!
WOW! I'm cooking authentic chinese dishes and loving it!
Barbara Tropp is my hero! A year ago I became engaged to a lovely Taiwanese woman who expressed her desire not to become a full time cook just because she was married. This inspired me to try my hand at Chinese cooking. I began to research cook books determined to fine one written by an authentic Chinese chef. To my surprise, Barbara Tropp's name kept coming up in reviews and articles....I couldn't escape her name so I bought "The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking". It was important to me to learn "the real McKoy" because my bride-to-be would be my judge. I was completely surprized when Mary kept exclaiming over and over that "that's how they do it in restaurants back home" or "that's how my mom does it" and so on. The only draw back is that, now, to enjoy my favorite chinese dishes, I have to cook them myself. Our local Chinese restaurants do not serve most of the recipes in Ms. Tropp's book. She is clearly passionate about her subject. And as a result, so am I. This book not only teaches one how to prepair her dishes, it gives you background information surrounding them. The regions where they originated, when and how they are served. Additionally, if she make ANY changes to the original recipes, she tells you what they are. You are not only learning how to prepair delicious dishes. You are getting an education beyond the ingrediants making it possible to taylor your meals around your guests (if they happen to be Chinese). So! Now I have a new hobby which I enjoy because I'm learning to do it well, my fiance thinks I'm great because I cook for her, my friends are constantly inviting me to cook for their parties and Mary loves showing off my skills and insights to her Asian friends and aquaintences. I have enjoyed dozens of hours learning from this book and I have barely scratched the surface. I am so glad I found this site and I am happy to have an opportunity to express the joy I have had learning to cook Chinese food the Barbara Tropp way. Thanks Barbara! If your ever in the Dallas area, I would love to shake your hand. Sincerely, John Morrison.
Authorative Authentic Chinese Cooking---In English!
As a Canadian of Asian descent, I grew up eating authentic Chinese food, even though I cannot read Chinese. I don't like my Chinese food "Westernized". Authentic Chinese food is my goal when cooking at home. THIS BOOK IS A GOD-SEND! It explains in fascinating detail the tools, techniques and very importantly, the INGREDIENTS used in Chinese cooking. The recipes include Ms. Tropp's own personal observations and many recipes have interesting stories attached. This makes the book very fun to read (although colour photos would make it even more fun). I am particularly impressed by Ms. Tropp's attention to detail and authenticity. When she does modify a recipe she clearly indicates this. This is definitely the best Chinese cookbook I've seen and I recommend it heartily. As a side note, I did not fully understand the movie, _Eat Drink Man Woman_ until I read Barbara Tropp's book. See the movie, then read the book! :-)
More art than modern, more classic than China Moon.
I learned to cook from this book, and not just Chinese. Partly it's that Tropp shakes convention: I threw my wok away, learned to season fried rice with kosher salt instead of soy sauce, discovered that I didn't have to peel ginger. Partly it is that she works harder to make it easier for you to do the right things, and to understand what makes them right. And, of course, it's also because the results are just so damn good. Also, note that the emphasis here is on simple and hearty, not the nouvelle cuisine of her China Moon book and restaurant. And I did make the pilgrimage to her restaurant, but her best dishes are the ones that come out of my kitchen.