Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hey, chum!

I was fortunate enough to pick up Picture Card Series Cook Chinese by Nancy Chih Ma (first edition 1964, but mine is the third printing from 1967). It is a beautiful book with color pictures of every recipe and sturdy, laminated pages so it can survive any cooking mishaps. (I know the previous owners liked sweet and sour pork recipes because several of those pages are stuck together! At least there is no harm in prying them apart.)

Many of the pictures are colorful and have an interesting composition, such as this one displaying the possible fillings for Mandarin Pancake Rolls:

I love the design of the bowl, the various colors, the little line-up of chopstick holders in the corner, the basket full of pancakes arranged like a fan. This picture illustrates the point from the Preface that eating should be "an esthetic pleasure."

While the next picture does have a certain playfulness to it, my first thought is not about any kind of pleasure:

My first thought is that a shark barfed up a partially-digested fish and someone put it on a plate. Maybe the kittens are delighted by such a prospect, but I am considerably less tempted. (Okay, I think I would have to suppress my gag reflex if I just tried to wash the plate that this monstrosity was served on.)

In case you want to make your own shark barf, here is the recipe:

It's probably fine if you are a devotee of sweet and sour, but it is (unsurprisingly) not something I enjoy. Even so, I trust Nancy Chih Ma's claim that this is "authentic Chinese cooking," far removed from the chop suey and chow mein of the '50s.

1 comment:

  1. As a general rule, I don't try any recipes that require me to flatten the dead creature's stomach to make it stand up. Guess this one is out.