The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: a review


September 5, 2012 by admin

Oh, this book is a great cookbook for me.  I miss my Asian grandmother so much.  As a child, I adored her and we did so much together: from re-creating club sandwiches we enjoyed at the Woodward’s cafeteria after a shopping trip to trying out nearly all the cookie recipes in the Fanny Farmer Cookbook; we made picnics to tote to the playground and built forts in the living room. These are the dearest recipes I learned from my Asian grandmother.  She was vivacious and brave living in a country so far and so different from the land she grew up in.  I always thought I’d learn the rest later.  I always thought we’d have more time.

This book, this Asian grandmothers cookbook, is important because it is her story and the story of so many Asian grandmothers in North America and it’s the story us grandkids might not have listened to when we were growing up.  Maybe we didn’t know how much these strong women had given up to live so far from where they were born?  Maybe they were still living in lands far away? Maybe we didn’t realize how much we’d yearn for food that we took for granted in our childhood kitchens once we grew up and had families of our own?  I love how this book encompasses so many different Asian backgrounds: I see recipes I know interspersed with recipes I want to try.  My favorite recipe is the miso soup one.  I can make miso soup with my eyes closed, but I never knew you shouldn’t let it boil once you’ve added the miso.  And I’m excited to try some Singaporean recipes because those are tastes that also shape my own kids’ genes.  I’m so glad that Pat Tanumiharjda compiled these recipes and documented stories from so many grandmothers.  I feel like just having the book on the shelf reminds me of mine.

And for that, I’m truly grateful.

(PS. I was given a copy of this book to review, but I do love it and therefore will probably be purchasing more copies with my own money for Christmas presents for some other lovely people in my life.

PPS. And yes, these thoughts are my own.)


  1. travelguy says:

    Your bachan would be proud of you!

  2. Yes-your bachan would be proud. A great tribute to a wonderful Asian grandmother, whom our children also miss so much-not a day goes by…..Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  3. Thank you for your blog, today. It was such a nice, thoughtful story-I didn’t want it to end.

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