Counter Intelligence

Favorite Food Books: Todd Kliman, Washingtonian Food and Dining

Posted in District of Columbia, Recipes by melissamccart on December 11, 2008

Washingtonian editor Todd Kliman offers these as among his favorites:
1) “Madame Wu’s Chinese Cooking” by Silvia Wu. My mom’s copy of this small, tidy book was much-stained and beat-up. It became my introduction to learning how to make Cantonese chicken and chicken corn soup. Still essential. Madame Wu had a place in Hollywood in the ’70s, and I loved the picture of her on the back cover with Cary Grant. He was so tanned, he looked like he’d been fried. 
Tom Colicchio’s “Think Like a Chef.”  I don’t watch “Top Chef,” and I don’t care if Colicchio is now more famous for being on TV than for being a good chef. The book preceded the show. I like it because it’s more about learning to cook, than about learning to cook a particular dish. (I even used it, once, at Howard University in a course I was teaching — to illustrate the idea that sometimes process matters more than result.) I seldom follow any recipe to the letter — if I do, I don’t feel as though I’m really cooking; I’m following — and this book is geared towards people like me, fairly-accomplished and generally free-wheeling home cooks.

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