The Chinese Quest is excited to help spread the word about a cookbook that is about to be published featuring Authentic Sichuan Recipes by Jenny Jade. As a bonus to Chinese Quest readers, Jenny is going to share with us in the coming days a sneak preview of the book and some of the recipes that are included, plus some bonus recipes that aren’t in the book! Please share this article, and Subscribe to The Chinese Quest so you don’t miss out!
My name is Jenny Jade and this is the story of my cookbook!
When I was living away from home for college, I started to cook food by myself. I remember when I was an intern, I shared an apartment with a few roommates. Nobody knew how to cook except me. So I started to teach my classmates how to cook, including the boys! They found out that cooking was not as difficult as they thought. Every day my classmates washed and cut the food and got everything ready for me to cook. I felt like I was a big chef in a restaurant! Everyone loved the dishes I cooked. That’s when I started to like cooking.
Luckily, I had learned cooking from my mom. My mom always cooked different kinds of Chinese food for our family. Whatever she makes is always really good. Whoever tries her food always gives it two enthusiastic thumbs up. I hardly ever cooked when I was living with parents, but I always went to kitchen to watch my mom cooking. I couldn’t wait to eat! I would watch impatiently. I guess that’s how I started learning, just by watching her so many times.
A few years after college, I moved to Singapore. I didn’t like the food there. I missed traditional Chinese food and especially Sichuan food so much. I felt homesick living so far away from home in a different country for the first time. I think I must have missed the food more than anything. Mom’s cooking means home. Again, I started to cook with my roommates on the weekends and it helped me feel peace in new place. We felt so satisfied and happy to eat our own homemade food.
After my husband, Ben, and I got married in 2015, we had the chance to travel to the USA several times. I love traveling and going to this new country was exciting but also scary. It was my first time outside of Asia. We’ve now been on several trips together and I know more about the United States geography and culture. Since my husband is American, we’ll always have a US-China connection.
The number one thing that I struggled with in the USA was, you guessed it, the food. On all our trips to the US, I missed the food from my home so much. I’m sure Americans feel the same way when traveling to other countries or anyone throughout the world for that matter. I just wanted to have some good, healthy Chinese food. I’m not use to fast food, cereal, bacon, mac and cheese, sandwiches, raw vegetables (we always cook every vegetable), and other American food (though there was some food that I really did enjoy, especially the potatoes and steak).
So after a few meals into our stay in America, we went to a Chinese restaurant to get something I was familiar with. My husband told me this particular restaurant was very popular. After trying some dishes there, I quickly found out that American Chinese food is not what I call Chinese food (see the first section of the book for more info on why). We tried some other Chinese restaurants, even in different states, and I felt the same. I realized that if I were to travel around in America and even eventually live in America, I needed to make the food myself.
When I cooked some Chinese food, we invited friends and family to try my food. They loved it and told me it was much better than the food at the local Chinese restaurants. Then I got an idea! Why not introduce more Americans to REAL Chinese food, at least real Sichuan food. Food that they could make and eat at home with their families. It was then, while in the US for a trip in February 2018, that I started working on this cookbook.
The book will be released May 31, 2018 and we are super excited to share it with you. Be the first to get our Authentic Sichuan Cuisine Chinese Cookbook at: http://www.wordswithbenithomas.com/cookbook.
This book contains only a few of the delicious meals that we eat in Sichuan. Depending on the reception to this cookbook, I may write another book with more recipes. I also want to film some videos to show you how to make some of the most popular recipes. You can check out the videos my husband and I make on his Facebook account: www.facebook.com/benithomastime. You can see our adventures in China and especially eating real Chinese food in Chengdu! We also have a special group you can join on Facebook called “Cook, Eat, Repeat.” You can share experiences and recipes there and we’ll post too!
If you have suggestions for Chinese food or just want to send me pictures or stories about your experiences with this book, at them in the group on Facebook Cook, Eat, Repeat, or send an email to [email protected].
Check out the recipes we post and try out what you think you would like. I’ve included plenty of vegetarian recipes in the book as well. I believe anyone can find something they love in this book.
I sincerely hope that trying out the food in this book will bless your life. You and your family will be able to experience food from another culture and place. You can even get some chopsticks and eat on a round table (traditionally how we eat). You can show off to your friends by contributing some great food to a pot luck or party. Cook some rice to eat with the food and eat family style with everything in the middle of the table. As a challenge, you can learn to write the Chinese names of the recipes or even how to say them (As a Bonus, I’ve included the simplified Chinese character name of each recipe).
Just enjoy eating real Sichuan Chinese food with your family and friends!
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