Cathy's Reviews > The Last Chinese Chef

The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones
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Sep 25, 09

bookshelves: foodie-fiction
Read in September, 2009

One of the main characters, Sam, talks about the striving for simplicity of Chinese food. The Chinese chef should put so many layers into their food that to the observer, the food, like tofu, looks simply like tofu, but when they bite into it, they realize that what is seemingly simple, is very complex and surprising.

Mones surprises with her layers of subplots that will appeal to more than one kind of reader. There's the story of Maggie, recently widowed and in China to address a paternity suit filed against her husband. There's Sam, half Jewish, half Chinese chef, now living in China to honor his grandfather, the last Chinese chef of imperial China. There is the relationship between Maggie, the food writer, and Sam, the competitor in a national contest for chefs. There are many other layers, cultural and familial, but the most important layer is the food and Mones's keen writer's need for immersion, precision and sensuality of the food makes this a book to be devoured slowly, course by course.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Mililani (new)

Mililani So...how is the book? Worthy of my time?


Cathy Mililani wrote: "So...how is the book? Worthy of my time? "
I ordered it at Borders, so I'm waiting for it to come in.



message 3: by Mililani (new)

Mililani And? I just read a book by Lisa See, Peony in Love. Most of the book takes place after the protagonist is dead. She comes to understand that she is a hungry ghost...alas!! Confirms the Chinese idea of ghosts and life after death.


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