09 July 2012

Cookbooks in translation...Vietnam

I had an epiphany the other day..while thinking about Julia Child.

I was shuffling through my cookbook shelf, which has taken on substantial proportions. I flicked through my Asian cookbooks and realised there were slim pickings in that category.  A scene from the movie Julie and Julia came to mind, the one when Julia (Meryl Streep) goes in search of a French cookbook in English. I shuddered at the thought of having to work my way through a Vietnamese language cookbook and decided to remedy the situation right away. 

After a bit of research, I decided on cookbooks written by Luke Nguyen. His passion for Vietnam, the food, the people and it's history comes through in his writing and in his recipes.  I could not pick just one of his cookbooks, so...I bought three, here, here and here. Luke shares his thoughts on Vietnam, ever so eloquently here...


Bill Granger is no stranger to my cookbook shelf. In fact his was the fist cookbook I purchased when we moved back to Sydney in 1999.  I trust Bill and know that whatever he creates in the kitchen, 
my family will be happy. So far Bill's Everyday Asian is working a treat.

 Mrs. H Sr. gifted Quick and Easy Vietnamese to me...she knows me. 

I bought Southeast Asian Specialties many years ago, when we were living in Connecticut. 
This is a great cookbook....encompassing many countries. It's a keeper.

Vietnamese cuisine is one of the things I am most excited about with our move to Vietnam and look forward to taking cooking classes. I have been thinking about how I can incorporate my cooking experiences into Collage of Life. I do not talk about food very often but I have a feeling this
will be something I become passionate about. If you have any thoughts on how I could present Vietnamese cooking, I am eager to read your thoughts!

If you have an interest in travelling to Vietnam or have recommendations.
You can stop in here...my travel file, so to speak, for Vietnam. :)

Signing off to practice my Vietnamese...


  1. Jeanne - I love Asian cooking, it's unquestionably my prime domain:). I have to recommend Nina Simonds on the China side. And, I will run right out and find some of Mr. Nguyens' books.

    1. Thanks LPC...I just popped it into my Amazon basket, thank you! :)

  2. Jeanne,

    Hello! Hope your weekend is going well.

    Did you get your car sold? Are you wrapping things up?

    You are so efficient, these look like excellent books. I would love to see your cooking adventures on collage of life!

    Have a great night, Elizabeth

    1. E...Car sold, getting thru the wrapping up. Thank you! :)

  3. Clever girl! you're an amazing creature, always staying ahead of the game...and what a game you play!

  4. Vietnamese food -at least the restaurant versxion - is sogood that learning to do it "right" will be wonderfful. What a great opportunity!

  5. Hi Jeanne.. one I'd suggest you should add. Hot, Sour, Sweet, Salty.. a culinary journey through South East Asia.. Jeffrey Alford/Naomi Duguid.. we're on the same thought path.. I did a cookery book blog post on Friday.. :).. http://vietnam-hiddenrichesofacolonialpast.blogspot.com/2012/07/is-food-greatest-love-of-your-life.html?spref=tw.. you won't be disappointed with this coffee table book.. superb pictures.. happy packing and enjoying your last week in UK.. x j PS.. also try and get a copy of Rick Stein's Far East Odyssey (either dvd/book).. amazing also.

    1. You are the best Jean, thank you! I have been onto ABC in Australia and found them all there. I think a trip to Sydney is in order now. :)

  6. Hello from Australia again Jeanne, to add to the luke Nguyen experience you could also view him in action in some TV shows he has done travelling through different parts of Asia. His latest series had him in Burma/Myanmar which fascinated me and my Burmese Karen refugee students.
    Another great read about food in Vietnam, with recipes, is one by well known NZ foodie Peta Matthias. She is quite a character but really knows her food. The book I refer to is called Noodle Pillows.
    A last tip, the expat women's groups in Hanoi at least but elsewhere in Asia as well, have kept busy creating guide books of all the insider tips you could want - from finding home essentials to tracking down the best tailors or fabrics or shoes to fit western feet. The Hanoi one was so comprehensive and gave excellent directions so that you could find your way not just through the maze of streets but into alleys and upstairs to places where much better product or skill could be found - safely.
    A friend of mine has worked on one such book for Bangkok and she said it was constantly being updated and added to to stay current.
    Don't forget to breathe!

    1. Thanks so much Jenni..we are off to Myanmar in a few months, Luke's DVD sounds like perfect research. Thanks for tip on Peta...I forgot about that one. Have added all your suggestions to my list! :)

  7. Ooh, yes please! I would really love to follow your experiences with all things food in Vietnam. I think that might be the best food I have had anywhere on the planet and would love to learn along with you.

    And these books are calling me. Especially the easy ones, I'll admit it. :O

    Thank you for the Luke Nguyen video--it makes me want to go back and watch the rest of the series. What an amazing country you are moving to Jeanne.

    Sending lots of good energy your way for the days ahead...

  8. Can't wait for some Vietnamese cooking lessons! Love it but really rarely cook it!

  9. Hi Jeanne - a good choice with Luke Nguyen! When you are next in Sydney you must go to his restaurant - RED LANTERN - fabulous! Rick Stein has also just done a wonderful series on TV in Vietnam - http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2009/08/rick-steins-bbc-vietnam-travel-show.html
    Such a marvellous place for the culinary palette.
    Have a good week - take time out to breathe and keep smiling. Kalo taxidi ( loosely translates as: safe travels in Greek) and see you in Vietnam! F x

    1. Loving all these tips, thank you Francesca. I will have a look at your link now... :)

  10. Jeanne, I love the way you go about things. You just do everything so whole-heartedly and so well. I need to become a bit more like you.

    1. Lorree...thank you...but to be honest, if my kids read the very kind words you just wrote, they would be howling with laughter...there are two sides to every situation. They see the crazy side, my blog is my calm side. So nice to know there is a back up! :)

  11. Count me in! I know absolutely nothing about Vietnamese cooking, but I'll be looking over your shoulder and ready to learn. I love food, all kinds. In fact, this post is reminding me that I'm possibly the only woman left in the world, who hasn't seen Meryl Streep in the role of Julia Child.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

    1. Leslie...you have to see Julie and Julia if only for Meryl Streep. I would have been happy to have had the whole movie wrapped around her. It is a fun flick... :)

  12. We adore Vietnamese food having has our fair share in Paris after college and are so jealous of your next adventure. May have to look into some of your cookbooks and share the fun! Thank you for your kind comment today and for your support - we so appreciate it.

  13. Oh what fun! Julia Child was my "cousin" through marriage. (my mother married her step-mother's brother! Confused? I was too!

    All I know is her tremendous kindness to me.......(this was rare in the fifties.she was DARLING to me!!)

    She taught me "monkey bread"! (does everyone know what that is?

    And she taught me how much fun cooking can be!

    I have to watch this movie!

    What a great post......thank you!

    All I remember is her tremendous kindness and encouragement to me!

  14. Ooops! I meant to add......when we move up to Santa Barbara; we should see her "out and about"!

    I would wave....and she would (in her inimitable voice say..........."Hello Cousin"! Her mellifluous would carry!

    What a lovely and funny and delightful person!

  15. Our daughter (a writer and journalist; wrote a wonderful article about Julia......

    Maybe she will fill in!


  16. I know you can get most recipes online now a days but there's just something about holding a recipe book in your hand that is priceless.


Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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