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Mandy Lee’s The Art of Escapism Cooking

This unique and deeply felt debut is packed with meticulous recipes & dramatic photography but the aspect that really sets it apart is the raw and honest writing from expat Mandy Lee.

Her international path (born in Taiwan and raised in Vancouver, she came of age food-wise in New York City, wrote the book in Beijing, and now lives in Hong Kong) informs the flavors of her dishes, like: Buffalo Fried Chicken Ramen, Wontons with Shrimp Chili Coconut Oil and Herbed Yogurt, and Poached Eggs with Miso Burnt Butter Hollandaise.

In this inventive and intensely personal cookbook, the blogger behind the award-winning ladyandpups.com reveals how she cooked her way out of an untenable living situation, with more than eighty delicious Asian-inspired dishes with influences from around the world.

For Mandy Lee, moving from New York to Beijing for her husband’s work wasn’t an exotic adventure—it was an ordeal. Growing increasingly exasperated with China’s stifling political climate, its infuriating bureaucracy, and its choking pollution, she began “an unapologetically angry food blog,” LadyandPups.com, to keep herself from going mad.

Mandy cooked because it channeled her focus, helping her cope with the difficult circumstances of her new life. 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. Born in Taiwan and raised in Vancouver, she came of age food-wise in New York City and now lives in Hong Kong; her food reflects the many places she’s lived.

This entertaining and unusual cookbook is the story of how “escapism cooking”—using the kitchen as a refuge and ultimately creating delicious and satisfying meals—helped her crawl out of her expat limbo.

Illustrated with her own gorgeous photography, The Art of Escapism Cooking provides that comforting feeling a good meal provides. Here are dozens of innovative and often Asian-influenced recipes, divided into categories by mood and occasion, such as:

For Getting Out of Bed
Poached Eggs with Miso-Browned Butter Hollandaise
Crackling Pancake with Caramel-Clustered Blueberries and Balsamic Honey

For Slurping
Buffalo Fried Chicken Ramen
Crab Bisque Tsukemen

For a Crowd
Cumin Lamb Rib Burger
Italian Meatballs in Taiwanese Rouzao Sauce

For Snacking
Wontons with Shrimp and Chili Coconut Oil and Herbed Yogurt
Spicy Chickpea Poppers

For Sweets
Mochi with Peanut Brown Sugar and Ice Cream
Recycled Nuts and Caramel Apple Cake

Every dish is sublimely delicious and worth the time and attention required. Mandy also demystifies unfamiliar ingredients and where to find them, shares her favorite tools, and provides instructions for essential condiments for the pantry and fridge, such as Ramen Seasoning, Fried Chili Verde Sauce, Caramelized Onion Powder Paste, and her Ultimate Sichuan Chile Oil.

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    by The Editors Of The Fox Magazine Time to read this article: 6 min
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