Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen
Author: Wang, Sheir and Ono
238 pages; Glossy Softcover $19.95US/$25.00 CAN
Publisher: 2010 DeCapo Press, Lifelong Books, Cambridge,
Reviewed by: Chef John Vyhnanek, June, 2010
Do you have a lot of aches and pains, how about
cold hands or cold feet? Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen reveals
how easy it is to understand the 3,000 year old secrets of the
Asian healing arts. Through food and different ingredients
health and healing can be easier to tap into. Suggested Asian
recipes for warming your cold hands include Garlic Green Beans,
Curry Flavor Pumpkin Soup and Five-Spice Lamb Skewers. This all
sounds good even without the soothing and healing properties
that may benefit you in a non traditional way.
The first sixty pages educate you on the philosophy and explain
one hundred healthful Asian ingredients. Did you know that ďin
traditional Chinese medicine, pears, which are considered sweet
and cooling, enter the Ling and Stomach channels, clearing Heat,
moistening dryness, generating body fluids and transforming
phlegm.Ē They provide vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B,
potassium, magnesium and other nutrients. You can learn facts
like this about the other ninety-nine ingredients from Ginkgo
Nuts to Bok Choy. Consider that Turmeric might be of some
benefit to those who are suffering from inflammation and pain.
The book is worth buying for this section alone!
You wonít find any weird recipes in the book or any real
traditional recipes like Peking Duck, although there is a pretty
good recipe for Korean Kim Chi on page 284. Make the recipe and
let it marinate for 2 days and then keep it refrigerates for 3
to 4 weeks. Itís interesting to see that the authors write the
following about it: Especially good for---Stimulating the
appetite, helping circulation and counteracting high cholesterol
and high glucose levels. Iíve enjoyed Kim Chi many times and I
can attest to the fact it helps circulation. Itís quite spicy
stuff and it really gets your heart pumping from the heat; good
The recipe for Cool-as-a-Cucumber Salad notes that itís
especially good for: Eating in hot weather; serving to anyone
who tends to run hot or who is displaying a poor appetite. I
found the recipe so easy to prepare and especially loved the
dark sesame oil flavor. I could live on it with a side bowl of
steamed brown rice.
The bottom line is that the book really has some good recipes in
it but more importantly good advice and is educational. Not many
people understand Chinese medicine and notable professional
health care givers are giving it a second look. Perhaps you
should give it a first look, educate yourself and give your
palate and body some healthy eating with a bit of wisdom on the
side. Good Cooking recommends this modern look at the Asian
You might want to double up this recipe because this delicious
salad can disappear fast! Try serving it
with a soup or rice dish.
1 medium-size cucumber, peeled
1 clove garlic, crushed and then minced
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
l. Using a blunt instrument, such as the handle of a knife,
pound the cucumber's surface to soften it slightly and increase
its ability to absorb the salt and dressing. Cut the cucumber in
Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, if desired. Then cut the
cucumber widthwise into thin slices or slivers.
2. Sprinkle and toss with salt, to taste.
3. Combine the cucumber, garlic, vinegar, and sesame oil in a
bowl and mix well. Serve.
Themes and Variations:
The Koreans make a similar refreshing chilled soup for the
summer months, combining cucumbers, garlic, salt, and a spoonful
of vinegar with water or chicken broth, and then garnishing the
soup with green onions and/or toasted sesame seeds.
Especially Good For:
Eating in hot weather; serving to anyone who tends to run hot or
who is displaying a poor appetite.
For Those Familiar With Traditional Chinese Medicine:
This dish helps to counteract Summer Heat.
Looking for a way to relieve sore, puffy eyes? Yuan recommends
resting with cool cucumber slices on closed eyelids for 10
minutes. Another remedy for soothing red itchy eyes is cool,
damp tea bags. Try it--you might be surprised how good it feels.