This landed on my doorstep today. It was a blind buy. I had no idea who Edward Lee was. The book was an Amazon recommendation, not that I purchased it through them, based on the fact (I guess) that I like Momofuku and Eat With Your Hands. I read the description and a couple reviews and knew right away that, at the very least, I'd get enough enjoyment from the book to justify the price of admission. Never mind who Edward Lee was.
Anyway. The book itself. Yet to cook anything from it but ...
- More accessible than Momofuku. I loooooove Chang's book--it's maybe one of my favourites--and have cooked from it a lot but I guess I didn't realise until I picked up Edward Lee's book that Chang assumes you're familiar with the basic ingredients and flavours that he works with. Lee, on the other hand, figures it's possible you've never bought a bottle of fish sauce before. He doesn't assume you're a total nuffy, tho'. He instructs you to and encourages you to make a stovetop smoker to prepare pulled lamb, for instance.
- The recipes, while they have kim chi and whatnot here and there--and there's a rice bowl recipe for each of the meat-based chapters, too--are really southern. There's probably more Americanness to this book than Koreanness. I mean, fried chicken and waffles?
- A very meat-heavy book. The link w/ Chang, Bourdain and Pelaccio isn't just an attitude/Asian-American fusion thing.
- There's a lot of recipes that use a lot of bourbon.
- This is a cups and tablespoons book and not a grams book.
- Lots of bold flavouirs. Mushroom jerky. Jalapeno (a favourite ingredient) pickles jacked w/ bourbon. Braised lamb shoulder. Lamb bacon. A bourbon-and-Coke meatloaf sandwich. Chicken and country ham pho. Ham hocks braised in cola. Pork burgers jacked w/ hoisin and sauced with a sun dried tomato ketchup. Pickled corn and bacon relish. You get the idea.
- Flipping through the book, there are a lot of things I want to cook. That's always a good sign, yeah?