Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen by Yuan Wang, Warren Sheir, and Mika Ono, $19.95, Paperback (Da Capo)
Ancient Wisdom Modern Kitchen is intended for the reader with beginner to moderate knowledge of ancient Chinese wisdom. The goal is to briefly introduce the reader to the basics of ancient Chinese remedies and ingredients and to provide recipes for these remedies.
The recipes are a diverse mix of Asian soups, sides, entrees, desserts, snacks, beverages, and stocks and toppings. There are approximately 15 in each category that are based on the healing of numerous ailments. The recipes are practical, if you know where to find the ingredients. In a small town with no Asian market, one may have difficulty in finding some of the ingredients, but any reader in or near a small city should be able to easily obtain the ingredients. The recipes are laid out well, with simple instructions that are easy to follow.
The majority of the sides, beverages, soups and desserts can be cooked within 30 minutes or less. The entrees do have longer cooking times, but the lengthiness can almost always be attributed to simmering or rice cooking. Each recipe comes with a useful hint or tip along with variations. There is also a short paragraph after each recipe describing what ailments the dish is best for and another describing the ailments in detail for those readers who are familiar with traditional Chinese medicine.
Since the theme of the book is based on the ancient Chinese medicinal value, and not modern nutritional values, the recipes are not followed by typical nutritional information.
The layout of the book makes it easy to learn the basics first; then apply what you learned in recipes. There is a section on Chinese wisdom, followed by popular Asian ingredients and their benefits. Following the Recipe section, is the helpful Appendixes, containing a glossary and an index by ailment. Finally, the book contains a small section on Asian resources, for those readers that may need help in finding ingredients or further information.
The photography is limited. There is a photo section of 8 pages, aiding in the identification of common Asian ingredients. But, considering the price point of the book, the lack of photography seems reasonable.