Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she’d lived for more than a decade. Who really invented the noodle? she wondered, like many before her. But also: How had food and culture moved along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe - and what could still be felt of those long-ago migrations? With her new husband’s blessing, she set out to discover the connections, both historical and personal, eating a path through western China and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Mediterranean.
The journey takes Lin-Liu into the private kitchens where the headscarves come off and women not only knead and simmer but also confess and confide. The thin rounds of dough stuffed with meat that are dumplings in Beijing evolve into manti in Turkey - their tiny size the measure of a bride’s worth - and end as tortellini in Italy. And as she stirs and samples, listening to the women talk about their lives and longings, Lin-Liu gains a new appreciation of her own marriage, learning to savor the sweetness of love freely chosen.
©2013 Jen Lin-Liu (P)2013 Tantor
"Delightful... This book is not just for foodies or cooks: any and all will enjoy it." (Library Journal Starred Review)
If I could, I would give this book a 3.5. It was a unique premise - searching for the origin of the noodle along the silk road. And, I really got a sense of "place" as the author moved west in her travels. I did feel that the last two stops - Greece and Italy got less attention. And, the "personal journey" of the author could have been explored in a bit more depth. I enjoyed the travelogue more than the actual cooking experiences. AUDIBLE ALERT: The reader mispronounces the spice "cumin" throughout the book.
Someone interested in the plight of middle-eastern women
Focus on the food, rather than the women that cook it
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