Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cookbooks: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen by Yuan Wang, Warren Sheir, Mika Ono

You are what you eat. If we take this saying literally, it would appear that Western culture is lost. Mountains of fast food hamburgers, masses of brown food deep-fried beyond recognition. If we are what we eat, we’re in trouble.

In Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen (Da Capo) this old phrase might take on a whole new meaning. The book is predicated on the idea that not only are we what we eat, we can control our health and longevity pretty closely based on what we put in our bodies. A sidebar to one of the recipes in the book encapsulates the difference in philosophies quite clearly:
Often in the West, people are told only what foods they should not be eating -- don’t eat sugar, don’t eat beef, don’t eat saturated fat -- rather than what foods they should be eating.
Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen is a complete cookbook that corrects that oversight. From the introduction:
Eastern traditions are not part of the Western lifestyle. We go to yoga classes after work, use feng shui to create a welcoming space in our living room, and consult an acupuncturist to relieve our lingering shoulder pain. Yet parts of the Eastern tradition are still to be discovered in the West. One of these is the potential of Chinese herbs to promote health and longevity through everyday cooking.
The resulting book is a revelation. Over 150 delicious and curative recipes that, considered in a deliberate way can be part of your personal health program. Or use the book to enhance your repertoire of healthful, organic foods and, though it’s not a vegetarian cookbook, a very high percentage of the included recipes are either vegan or vegetarian.

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen
is a deeply interesting book. One that, given the right set of circumstances and half a chance, could change your life.

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