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Writing News You Can Use

Well, the sale on my cookbook is over. You can still get it on Amazon Kindle for a measly $3, and it is still an excellent resource on Tibetan cooking.

In an attempt to find out what others thinking of Tibetan cooking, I went to Chowhound and found a food critic holding forth about it. To my horror, he called Tibetan cooking bland. My first instinct was to deny it and write to him about how he should try my sister-in-law's cooking.

But here is the thing: even my sister-in-law thinks Tibetan cooking isn't a fancy food. Virtually everyone who has ever tried it points out that it is heavy, salty, and greasy. Part of the problem is that it hasn't been introduced in restaurants by professional chefs. There is a lovely Tibetan restaurant in Sebastopol, California and another Chengdu, China, but as a rule, it is made by a cadre of women at home on subsistence farms. This is the problem that American food frequently faced early in this century: it was made by Mom, a woman who had other things to do and likely viewed it as a chore that was taking up most of her day. That isn't a recipe for careful cookery, or an emphasis on fanciness. American and Tibetan cooking emphasizes filling people up with all the nutrients a person might need from the foodstuffs available, and with a minimum of fussiness. I like fuss-free food, but it clearly isn't to everyone's liking.

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