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And it was nice to have someone watching out for me and showing me the way. And I had instant friends. I mean, that was a long way for a year-old girl to travel.


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Her younger sister, Maureen, is a nurse practitioner. After earning her degree, Tanumihardja spent some time working at the Henry Art Gallery and with Jack Straw Productions, after which, she went back to Singapore and worked at its national museum doing public relations and marketing. So I started writing. In the beginning, Tanumihardja wrote a lot under the travel and home and garden umbrella.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens

That eventually expanded to people and multicultural issues. That gave me my start in food writing. Tanumihardja actually met her first book publisher through the Northwest Asian Weekly. During that interview, Luke told Tanumihardja that he always wanted to publish a cookbook about Asian grandmothers and their recipes. Patricia shopping for seasonal vegetables. Photo provided by Patricia Tanumihardja. They hail from the traditions of bold and diverse flavors of Indonesian cuisine — and they also fall well within the East Asian tradition of having the family meal be relatively light on meat and punctuated by side dishes of rice, noodles, and vegetables.

Learn Kitchen Secrets in The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook | Bicultural Mama®

The one snag she encountered was the scarcity of certain vegetables that are staples in Indonesian food. In the introduction of her book, Tanumihardja has charts with substitution suggestions, differentiated by seasonality.


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When a recipe calls for spring greens such as fiddlehead ferns and dandelion greens but the current season is autumn, Tanumihardja suggests a mix of rainbow chard instead. Cooking and buying seasonally, she said, ensures freshness and peak of flavor. Sustainably grown food tends to have a lower impact on the soil and less pollutants go into the water system, the streams, the lake.

You also see the fruits of your labor a lot quicker. Additionally, a diet high in vegetables tends to be healthier.

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Last month, Imperial College London released a report that stated that 10 portions of vegetables a day could prevent 7. It's not just that the recipes sound so appealing and doable in my own kitchen. It's the words and stories of all these women and the occasional grandpa that make the recipes come alive. This feels different than coming across a new recipe on a blog. It really feels like there's an intimacy and a connection to past generations as you flip through the pages Really, who among us hasn't secretly wished for an Asian grandmother at some point?

Product description

This book by Pat Tanumihardja is like discovering that I have a long lost relative who I can call on in these moments of culinary distress. When I finally got a copy in my kitchen, I was thrilled: Not only did Pat do a stupendous job collecting stories and recipes, Lara Ferroni worked her photography magic for the ingredient glossary and the recipes. It's compelling, kind-hearted and gorgeous, just as I expected. The warm-hearted profiles of ten seasoned cooks add a rich personal history to the recipes.

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Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Laotian, Korean, and Filipino cuisines are covered, as well as the inevitable mingling that happens through family migration around the globe. Prefacing the recipes are an invitation to cook intuitively, a chapter called 'The Asian Pantry,' and a clear explanation of Asian cooking techniques, setting the mood for a joyful adventure in cooking. Then many of the recipes show how the dishes went from the original, authentic version, to the dish made as it could be in America, with the ingredients available.