This was a different book from the type I usually listen. It had an interesting plot and the main character was personable.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the food. It made me hungry.
I think the aunts would be interesting dinner companions.
I definitely recommend the book.
I had no idea that there was so much philosophy and symbolism in Chinese cooking. In the 70’s I had a friend that came from behind the iron curtain in China and he was a Chief. He gave me several recipes that I use to this day but they are much easier to prepare than the recipes described in this book. The recipes that he gave me I have never seen in a cookbook. He never told me of the philosophy and symbolism.
The American food critic in the book was use to writing about American foods and knew nothing about Chinese cooking; so like me she was intrigued by the entire scenario. Loved the story and the way the author intergraded the food, history, culture and attitudes into the plot.
The narrator was okay. She had the pronunciations down pat but when she switched to some of the male voices I was not always sure which character was speaking.
Before you even start listening.........go buy Chinese food. And I'm not talking.......any kind. Spend good money on good food. You are going to want to eat AMAZING GREAT CHINESE FOOD as you listen........great book.
In "The Last Chinese Chef" author Nicole Mones presents a glimpse into another corner of what we westerners often consider a veiled and mysterious culture. Mones' other credits include "A Cup of Light" and "Lost in Translation" (no relation to the film of the same name). I gave the main narrator Elisabeth Rodgers 4 stars for having the guts to tackle pronunciation of the names and terminology. Her portrayal of the book's characters was quite capable but not memorable. Co-narrator James Chen provides the "intro" to each chapter, reading excerpts from the fictitious book for which the novel is named.
In "Chef", Mones' central character Maggie McElroy is a writer for a popular food magazine whose own personal tragedy results in a journey of discovery into Chinese life and culture, and particularly food. The author draws heavily on her own experience and knowledge gained through many years of living in and writing about it as a contributor to Gourmet magazine. Her wealth of knowledge on the subject lends greatly to the authenticity of the story and also gives this book what I consider its strongest credit.
While the characters are all fairly well developed, the storyline is thin and predictable. However, the story does provide the basis for the rich and detailed descriptions of Chinese cuisine and its surprisingly integral and inextricable ties to the culture. This is the book's true strength. If you are a foodie, you will be enraptured by the detailed descriptions of the various dishes that are focal to the story. If you love history and learning about other cultures, you will find much to enjoy here. If you are a fan of both food and history... well stop reading this and go get "The Last Chinese Chef". Just make sure you read on a full stomach, or you'll soon be calling out for delivery!
This book is an interesting combination of information about Chinese food and cooking and a trite romantic story. The lovely story of the food kept me until the end, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone because the other part of the story dominates. The narrator of the romance novel is awful, but I couldn't tell if she was a poor reader or simply had unreadable material to cope with. It's been a long time since I have listened to anything so terribly written. No one talks like these characters do, and nothing in the real world happens as it does in this book. The narrator of the Chinese food parts of the book does better, but the writing is also better.
Wonderful combination of Chinese history, Chinese cooking and food, and Chinese family! Since I've always been so intrigued by China, the perfect book for me!
I loved the cultural aspects of this book. Learning about China and the culture / history of the food there was very interesting. The story is uplifting, but not overly sweet as there are themes of grief, death and loss. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire read and I didn't want to it end!
The imagery is written so beautifully. Mones is such a graphic writer. I loved how she made the food sound, smell and taste come off the page.
The story was well put together giving a detailed background of the characters as the story progressed. It captivates you and wants you to know more about the characters.
A great read.