Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China

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9780151012916: Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China

As a freelance journalist and food writer living in Beijing, Jen Lin-Liu already had a ringside seat for China’s exploding food scene. When she decided to enroll in a local cooking school—held in an unheated classroom with nary a measuring cup in sight—she jumped into the ring herself. In Serve the People, Lin-Liu gives a memorable and mouthwatering cook’s tour of today’s China as she progresses from cooking student to noodle-stall and dumpling-house apprentice to intern at a chic Shanghai restaurant. The characters she meets along the way include poor young men and women streaming in from the provinces in search of a “rice bowl” (living wage), a burgeoning urban middle class hungry for luxury after decades of turmoil and privation, and the mentors who take her in hand in the kitchen and beyond. Together they present an unforgettable slice of contemporary China in the full swing of social and economic transformation.

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From the Back Cover:

"[D]o not let Jen Lin-Liu's little gem of a book... pass you by." -- The Wall Street Journal Fresh out of journalism school, Jen Lin-Liu moved to China to learn about the country her grandparents fled half a century before. Once there, she discovered a passion for China's rich cuisine and embarked on a culinary journey to reconnect with her roots. A memorable, mouthwatering cook's tour, Serve the People chronicles her progress from entry-level lessons in an unheated cooking school, to noodle-stall and dumpling-house apprenticeship, to an inhernship at a chic Shanghai restaurant. Along the way, she meets young men and women streatming in from the countryside in search of  a "rice bowl" (living wage), a burgeoning middle class hungry for luxury, and mentors who introduce her to Chinese life within and beyond the kitchen.  An unforgettable slice of contemporary China in the full swing of social and economic transformation, Serve the People is also the heartwarming story of a young woman finding an unexpected path home.   "A delicatedly crafted steamed dumpling of a book... It's peppered with delicious descriptions, authentic recipes, humorous anecdotes, and all the goodness of a young woman who finds her way in life, and even falls in love." -- The International Herald Tribune 

Jen Lin-Liu was raised in southern California, graduated from Columbia University, and came to China in 2000 on a Fulbright fellowship. A food critic for Time Out Beijing and the coauthor of Frommer's Beijing, she has also written for Newsweek, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Saveur, and Food & Wine. She is the founder of Black Sesame Cooking School in Beijing.

From the Inside Flap:

"A beautiful and revelatory book about cuisine, packed with humor and pathos and profound cultural insight."--Frederick Kaufman, author of A Short History of the American Stomach

"If you hunger for clear insights into the regular people of China today, read Jen Lin-Liu's tour-de-force Serve the People."--William Poy Lee, author of The Eighth Promise

As a freelance journalist and food writer living in Beijing, Jen Lin-Liu already had a ringside seat for China's exploding food scene. When she decided to enroll in a local cooking school--held in an unheated classroom with nary a measuring cup in sight--she jumped into the ring herself. In Serve the People, Lin-Liu gives a memorable and mouthwatering cook's tour of today's China as she progresses from cooking student to noodle-stall and dumpling-house apprentice to intern at a chic Shanghai restaurant. The characters she meets along the way include poor young men and women streaming in from the provinces in search of a "rice bowl" (living wage), a burgeoning urban middle class hungry for luxury after decades of turmoil and privation, and the mentors who take her in hand in the kitchen and beyond. Together they present an unforgettable slice of contemporary China in the full swing of social and economic transformation.

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