Book Review – The Chinese Kitchen Garden by Wendy Kiang-Spray.

Chinese kitchen garden

4 out of 5

I would like to thank Timber Press for providing me with a free ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

What a gorgeous book and so well constructed too. You not only get the history and justified passion of Ms Kiang-Spray for cooking and gardening, but you get a bounty of helpful information on how to grow and use these products for yourself.

I loved the mixture of ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ within the pages too. Generations of a family passing on their gardening and cooking passions showing how key they can be to raising happy, healthy people. Wonderful.

I grew up in the city of Darwin, where the Chinese culture had played a strong role in its history and creation (well, that’s how I remembered it) and so I grew up with mostly Cantonese style foods as a common thing. So to learn how easy to grow, cultivate, harvest, use and cook some of those ingredients of my childhood – talk about a comfort food cook book!

As to the formatting side of things – which I always talk about – the layout of this book is perfect. Well-constructed, easy to read from cover to cover as well as to spot reference as needed. It includes clear and precise instructions on both gardening and cooking.

Would I recommend this cook to others?

I would and I wouldn’t. I mean, I do feel you need to have a passion or connection to authentic Chinese/ Asian foods to get the most out of this book. Please don’t get me wrong, there are many “common” foods also explored within this book, but the overall theme is what the title says it is.

So, yes I would recommend it… but only to those who I know would appreciate it for what it is. A book on growing and cooking your own food and a family keeping in touch with all aspects of the cultures that created it through food.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I’m honestly not too sure. I mean, I loved reading it and found quite a few tips, tricks and recipes in it I would love to refer back to again and again… but this is the type of book I would want in paper format and I just don’t think I loved it enough to give up any of my precious physical bookshelf space for it. Oh I am a horrible person, we all know that! I loved this book and feel it has just so much goodness to give and share… but I am being stingy with my shelf space. Sorry.

In summary: It is not just a book on family, or on how to grow things or even how to cook. What makes it special is it is a lot of all three. Loved it.

Until next time,

Janis.

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