Title: 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, MA
Reviewed by: Chef John Vyhnanek, June, 2010

The review--- 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 in 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. 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 won t 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. It's interesting to see that the authors write the following about it: Especially good forStimulating the appetite, helping circulation and counteracting high cholesterol and high glucose levels. I ve enjoyed Kim Chi many times and I can attest to the fact it helps circulation. It's quite spicy stuff and it really gets your heart pumping from the heat; good stuff though!

The recipe for Cool-as-a-Cucumber Salad notes that It's 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 healing arts!

Cool-as-a-Cucumber Salad

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


1. 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 half lengthwise.
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.