Every immigrant family adjusts to life in America in its own way, but they do not each produce a cook and writer as gifted as Frankie Gaw, the son of a Taiwanese couple who settled in Cincinnati.
The author of the blog Little Fat Boy, Gaw reveals a world in which American chain restaurants were one pole of a culinary world anchored at the opposite end by the food of his grandmothers, who followed their children to the US.
His recipes include traditional dishes—hand-pulled noodles, pork dumplings, the egg-pancake sandwiches known as bing—as well as inventions by cooks in his family who adapted to a range of new ingredients: a cashew Caesar salad; cold ramen noodle salad with ginger and garlic peanut sauce; Coca-Cola and soy-glazed baby back ribs.
And there are his own creations as well, ranging from a Cincinnati-style chili with Taiwanese flour noodles to pan-fried dumplings filled with chili, chicken, and peach. Even roasted carrots with rosemary, garlic, and black vinegar.
In headnotes and chapter openings, Gaw vividly illuminates the contrasts between his family's past and their dreams, between traditions and discoveries. He also provides a bounty of drawings and photo sequences to help cooks shape a symmetrical scallion pancake or roll out and fill dumplings in three different styles.
Wholly practical and very readable.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.