Friday, March 18, 2022

Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home

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Korean American is a gloriously colorful cookbook/memoir/ode to Korean American food and fusion culture with recipes developed and curated by Eric Kim. Due out 29th March 2022 from Penguin Random House on their Clarkson Potter imprint, it's 288 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

I love Korean food but always felt somewhat intimidated and full of excuses: "It's too complicated", "the ingredients are hard to source", "it requires too much special equipment", and maybe the lamest of them all "it's culturally insensitive for a lily white Irish girl to make Korean food". This book is wonderful. It's a full spectrum of food - from quick snacks to eat alone, up to company worthy feasts. There's introspective comfort food for a quiet dinner at home as well as exuberant celebration food, and all of it with a Korean American fusion vibe.

The book is arranged logically and well and info is easy to find quickly. The introduction covers a little bit of history, some personal family reminiscences, ingredients, and pantry lists with ingredient explanations. The recipes in the following chapters are grouped thematically: quick meals (to eat on the couch), kimchi (my favorite chapter - luscious variations here for every taste and so versatile), stews, rice dishes, fish, vegetables, feasts/celebratory food, and baked goods.

Each recipe includes an introduction and background, followed by a bullet list of ingredients. Measurements are given in American standard units, no metric equivalents are provided. The cooking instructions are enumerated step by step. There is no nutritional info included. Most recipe ingredients will be familiar to western cooks and will be available at any well stocked grocery store. Some ingredients will require access to a larger metropolitan area or specialist grocers (or mail order). Each recipe is accompanied by one or more color photos. Serving and preparation suggestions are appealing and appropriate. It all looks delicious.

Five stars. This is a beautifully made, thoughtfully written, engaging, and information dense book. It's a classic and good cookbook, not just a good Korean cookbook. This would be a superlative choice for public library acquisition, and for foodies. The pictures alone are worth the price of admission.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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