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Williams-Sonoma Asian    by Chuck Williams order for
Williams-Sonoma Asian
by Chuck Williams
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Williams-Sonoma Asian is a lovely cookbook. It has photographs to knock your socks off, and recipes to get the old taste buds raging. Starting with Pad Thai, my grandson's favorite dish in all the world (he's 29), this lovely book comes with hints on preparation of the recipes. Use of the mortar and pestle, and cooking with skewers, are but two of the informational tidbits.

Don't think that the title of this cookbook and its cover imply only Chinese foods. Pad Thai is, of course, from Thailand. Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce is from Malaysia. And yes, the Pot Stickers and Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce are Chinese. Look good enough to eat. Lead me to the chopsticks. The Indian Chicken Curry is rich with toasted spices and seeds. Vegetable Samosas, those little wrapped snacks from India, are pretty with the green of peas, the orange of carrots, and their golden wrapping. Vietnam is represented with a recipe for Beef Noodle Soup, and Indonesia with Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup. And where would the world be without rice? Six recipes are presented incorporating this versatile food. We then move on to noodles ... rice noodles, soy noodles, cellophane noodles, and egg noodles. The photograph of Pan-Seared Fish with Noodles will take your breath away. At the moment, I'm not hungry, but this has me imagining my next meal.

One of the tips cautions about the handling of fresh chiles. I can remember chef daughter Joanna forgetting one time, and handling the chiles without gloves. She suffered for several hours. So be careful. Salads are covered as are Sweet Dishes. More information about the ingredients used rest quietly in the back of the book. China, India, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia. Step out of the box for a night and try something that seems exotic. Bet you'll try more.

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