In her debut cookbook, the author offers recipes and tips on preparing international dishes for family meals.
Resele serves up a variety of inviting recipes, attractively packaged, in a volume that draws on a wide range of flavors, including both common (rosemary, thyme and balsamic vinegar) and less well-known items (kaffir leaves, galangal root and flax seed powder). Her cookbook is also diverse in other ways: It draws on her multicultural Indochinese-Japanese-Chinese heritage; her experience as a chef; and her training in biochemistry and nutrition. After some opening material, the book moves on to recipes that focus first on breakfast, then lunch, dinner or supper, followed by main courses, and then switching organizational principles with chapters on carbs, vegetables and desserts. Each recipe has an introduction and a nutritional analysis, and the book includes references and a glossary. Unfortunately, however, it has no index, and readers should be prepared for weights in grams. Recipes include standards—like Gazpacho, Polenta, and Baked Apples—as well as some interesting variations, like Kimchi made with spinach or arugula leaves. The range of cuisines shows up in the inclusion of dishes as varied as Fresh Egg Spaetzle, Ayam Rica-Rica, Miso Udon Soup, Beef Bulgogi, Tortellini Filling and Tortilla Tempeh Crumble. As appealing as some of these foods may be, errors at times undermine the credibility of the material. Contrary to the text, Plato did not write Epigram VII to (the mythological) Helen of Troy and may not have written it at all. Not only is Marie Antoinette not responsible for causing the French Revolution, as the book asserts, but she did not say “Let them eat cake” at all, let alone in October 1793. The most questionable statement about nutrition is that “a low carbohydrate diet has a negative effect on muscle building and the proper burning of fat,” an assertion at odds with studies that have shown that—given sufficient calories—people on low-carb diets either maintained or increased lean body mass, losing only body fat. The book also reflects editing lapses in its references to “corned” pomegranates and “gloves” of garlic, which could easily have been avoided.
Well-seasoned recipes served up with prose that readers need to take with a pinch of salt.