Why Tangstein, when my name is Liza Baker? Thanks (apologies?) are due to Jerry Seinfeld for the inspiration – Donna Chang nee Changstein (“The Chinese Woman“) – and to my husband, Xiaobing Tang, who did NOT decide to reinvent/rename himself but has loaned me his name though I didn’t take it as my own!
I came to this site by a long and circuitous route, involving time spent studying Chinese language and literature, learning the culinary arts, working in the restaurant/catering business and as an office administrator. Now if anyone knows of an administrative position in a culinary school that specializes in Chinese cuisine, you know I’m looking for it….
This blog is a collection of recipes and menus that I have developed for teaching the Changsteins among us how to cook simple, healthy Chinese food for busy weeknights using readily available (and hopefully locally, organically/sustainably grown) ingredients and a minimum of kitchen gadgets. Along the way we’ll detour to look at some useful resources, meet some inspiring people, and have some fun cooking together.
I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions, which can be left on any page.
Before we get started, credit should be given and thanks expressed where they are due:
Where to begin? Perhaps at the beginning. I’m sure to miss someone, but unlike a cookbook, a blog is a work in progress! Thanks to…
- My mother and grandmother for laying the foundations of my culinary knowledge and skills
- My father, who loved good food
- My husband, for his unwavering support and encouragement AND for his fantastic photography
- My kids, for eating all kinds of things kids “aren’t supposed to eat”
- My mother- and sister-in-law for letting me look over their shoulders (but never touch anything!) in their kitchens
- My friends, many of whom said, “You should write a cookbook…” never knowing how much they inspired me to do so
- My Chinese teachers, especially John Berninghausen – the first word we learned in Chinese 101 was “daozi”, cleaver!
- My culinary arts instructors, who explained not only the hows but the whys and why nots
- Many many food writers and cookbook authors, especially: Fuchsia Dunlop (Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook) and Jack Santa Maria (Chinese Vegetarian Cookery), both of whom prove that you don’t have to be Chinese to cook Chinese food with a true Chinese flavor; Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Small Wonder), Michael Pollan (The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Nina Planck (Real Food), all of whom have taught me the economic, ecological, and health reasons for starting every recipe with whole, wholesome, local ingredients whenever possible; Deborah Madison (Local Flavors and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) for helping me to expore and make full use of the local farmers’ market.