by Jen Lin-Liu

Reviewer Rating:
4

Review

An enjoyable journey from China to Italy, with many stops in between, to look at food history and traditions. The author's original goal was to try to figure out if noodles had really come to Italy from China or vice versa, or something in between. Of course, food, culture, and history are more complicated than that, and she doesn't get a definitive answer on her overland travels on the Silk Road. The importance of noodles, bread, and rice in various countries are noted, and she does a good job of relating one food to another in a different region, whether it be by similar technique, ingredients, or name. Though by no means a comprehensive history of this region, the author does a great job of sprinkling in facts about dynasties, religion, ethnic minorities, migrations, and culture, so I felt like I learned about more than just food. She also observes the various ways different countries/cultures treat women and religion. Lin-Liu also personalizes her journey--she is Chinese American, had been living in China for quite some time at the start of her journey, and was questioning both her own cultural identity and her fairly new relationship with her husband and what their future might look like. An enjoyable read that will have you craving all sorts of treats! (recipes included)

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