Category Archives: What’s New

The Breath of a Wok Video

I’m very proud to present my latest video. It’s a tribute to the wok—an instrument of life force, a vessel of history and tradition, and a trusty companion that helped me survive a tough summer. I’d been thinking about this video for a long time before I finally got to work on it. My concept was that so many people think the wok is just a stir-fry pan, but it’s so much more. While researching my cookbook, The Breath of A Wok, the Chinese culinary legend Florence Lin said to me, “With one wok you can do everything.” I was Read More …

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“The Wok in America” at MOFAD

I rarely give talks in New York City, but on Tuesday, July 18th I’ll be speaking about “The Wok in America” at the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) in Brooklyn, where the exhibition, “Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant” is currently on view. My own family’s wok, circa 1949, is one of the items on display. If you’re familiar with my cookbooks, you might remember that my parents did not use a wok. They stir-fried with a stainless-steel skillet because a round-bottomed wok wouldn’t work on their electric stove. I was reunited with my ancestral wok just a few Read More …

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The Last Handmade Wrought Iron Woks of Shanghai

In December, I reported that the Cen brothers, the Shanghai wok artisans whose woks grace the cover of “The Breath of a Wok,” closed shop. Since that posting I’ve received numerous emails, some desperate on how to buy a Cen hand-pounded wok. Sadly, there is no hidden stash. Someone I know contacted one of the brothers who confirmed the business is permanently closed. There is some good news in the hand-pounded wok universe. A few months ago, Christopher St Cavish wrote a piece Meeting Tao Qingjian,The Last Woksmith in Smartshanghai.com. Tao’s woks are dramatically different from the Cen woks because the Read More …

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“The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen” Video

It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since my father passed away. Without Baba, I would not have written “The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen.” Of all my books it is the one dearest to me. When I was a child my parents didn’t think it was important to teach me how to cook. Juggling the demands of a full-time job, by the time my mother came home and started cooking the evening meal, it was with brusque efficiency. The tone of the kitchen was not a relaxed atmosphere that encouraged my participating. Nor would my parents have allowed me Read More …

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Ramps

Every year, as the first hints of spring begin to appear, I start looking for ramps at the local farmer’s market. Here in the East, they’re the definitive sign that winter is truly behind us. In New York City, ramps are expensive, sold in tiny, precious bundles for about $20/pound. A scarce commodity, they’re pricey because they’re foraged (not grown in farm fields or gardens) and their season is super-short. Ramps (Allium trioccum) are also called wild leeks, but that doesn’t do them justice. My friend Kathy Gunst, in her wonderful cookbook Notes from a Maine Kitchen, describes the way Read More …

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