For this week’s cookbook review, we bring one of the most unusual books we’ve ever had the chance to read. The Art of Escapism Cooking is an inventive and intensely personal cookbook from Mandy Lee, the blogger behind the award-winning ladyandpups.com.
Moving from New York to Beijing wasn’t a pleasant experience for Mandy. So to keep herself from going mad, with China’s stifling political climate and infuriating bureaucracy, she decided to create her “unapologetically angry food blog”. She filled her kitchen with warming spices and sticky sauces while she shared recipes and observations about life, food, and cooking in her blog posts.
In her first cookbook, Mandy goes a little further, revealing how she cooked her way out of an untenable living situation, with more than 80 delicious Asian-inspired dishes with influences from around the world.
The recipes in The Art of Escapism Cooking are a reflection of the different places where Mandy lived. Cities like Taiwan, Vancouver, New York, and Hong Kong played an important role in Mandy’s life. This entertaining and unusual cookbook tells the story of how using the kitchen as a refuge and ultimately creating delicious and satisfying meals helped her crawl out of her expat limbo.
We have tried several of the recipes and they are all very delicious, definitely worth the time and attention required. They include a nice balance of very technical fare fit for savoring and smaller dishes made to soothe late-night whims.
In The Art of Escapism Cooking, you will find much more than recipes. Mandy also demystifies unfamiliar ingredients and where to find them. She shares her favorite tools and provides instructions for essential condiments for the pantry and fridge. Ramen Seasoning, Fried Chili Verde Sauce, Caramelized Onion Powder Paste, are some of the condiments, that you need to try.
The division of the book was also something that we find very interesting. The chapters are divided into categories by mood and occasion, and each one is full of innovative and often Asian-influenced recipes. All book chapters are different from each other and always have something special to add. There’s even a section at the end offering recipes For Pups, standing as an homage to Lee’s own pups.
We already review lots of cookbooks but there is something different with this one. Besides all the amazing recipes and photogrpahs we really like the way it is structured. in fact, we like so much that we can’t resist sharing some of our favorite chapters and recipes in this review.
Crackling Pancake with Caramel-Clustered Blueberries and Balsamic Honey
Buffalo Fried Chicken Ramen
Peking Duck Ramen
Saliva Chicken Meatballs
Spicy Chickpea Poppers
Cruffins with Salted Yolk Custard
Wonton Wrapper Cigars Soaked in Orange Honey
The Art of Escapism Cooking is a fantastic addition to the kitchen shelves of anyone who appreciates a deep dive into technical recipes. Though not every recipe will require hours of prep, one should appreciate that the specificity of methods and ingredients can elevate a dish into something well worth your effort. If you’re looking for a different cookbook, with a great history, delicious recipes and mouth-watering photographs, The Art of Escapism Cooking is the book you’re looking for.
The Art of Escapism Cooking is one of the best cookbooks we saw this year. The delicious recipes and the mouth-watering photographs make it a must-have for all the fans of Asian-influenced comfort food.