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Memories of Philippine Kitchens [Hardcover]

Amy Besa , Romy Dorotan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 45.00
Price: CDN$ 28.22 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

May 1 2012

In the newly revised and updated Memories of Philippine Kitchens, Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, owners and chef at the Purple Yam and formerly of Cendrillon in Manhattan, present a fascinating—and very personal—look at Filipino cuisine and culture. From adobo to pancit, lumpia to kinilaw, the authors trace the origins of native Filipino foods and the impact of foreign cultures on the cuisine. More than 100 unique recipes, culled from private kitchens and the acclaimed Purple Yam menu, reflect classic dishes as well as contemporary Filipino food. Filled with hundreds of sumptuous photographs and stories from the authors and other notable cooks, this book is a joy to peruse in and out of the kitchen.


Frequently Bought Together

Memories of Philippine Kitchens + The Filipino-American Kitchen: Traditional Recipes, Contemporary Flavors + The Filipino Cookbook: 85 Homestyle Recipes to Delight Your Family and Friends
Price For All Three: CDN$ 64.82

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About the Author

Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan are the owners of the Purple Yam restaurant in Brooklyn. They are the former owners of Cendrillon. They live in Brooklyn.


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedic! Nov. 11 2013
By Violeta
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Reads like an encyclopedia and bible of Philippine cuisine. Very unique written format on such a topic. Kudos to the authors!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Accolades to the Chef and Writer Dec 14 2010
By Lito
Format:Hardcover
My wife found this book in the public library and both she and I have tried out the recipes. As they were written down with ingredients we could actually source out we were more than pleased with food we have created. My wife does the main course and I deal with desserts which have been very wonderful to the palate.Makes me miss home so much that we just had to go back to Manila with family and friends.I finally bought the book in secret as a Christmas Gift before she even suggested the idea.Kudos to the writers
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome compendium Dec 30 2009
Format:Hardcover
I find it a very good compendium of the most memorable foods from each locality among the diverse islands and sub-cultures that is the Philippines. It does what the title says, bring back memories of Philippine kitchens. It preserves recipes that were not completely handed down from the older folk to the succeeding generation who never found time to learn how those unforgettable tastes, smells and delicacies were created. The narrative that accompanies each recipe stirs up memories that move you to try out the recipe for yourself. Such has been my experience upon reading the book.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Study and Memoir of Filipino Cuisine. Buy It. Dec 18 2006
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
`Memories of Philippine Kitchens' by husband and wife restaurateurs, Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan is, with a few important differences, cut from the same mold as the two latest books from another husband and wife team, writer Naomi Duguid and photographer Jeffrey Alford. The major difference is that while Duguid and Alford are exceptionally talented journalistic `outsiders', Besa and Dorotan are writing from well inside the Philippine cuisine, both being natives of the Philippines, albeit now working in a Manhattan restaurant specializing in Philippine cuisine.

I'm especially interested in this book, as I lived and cooked in a Philippine household for almost three years, with my first experience being that old war-horse, `The Philippine Cookbook' by Reynaldo Alejandro, from whom I got my first adobo, pancit, lumpia, and sinigang recipes. This period in my life also rekindled my interest in cooking, and my first impressions of the Philippine cuisine compared to those of France, Italy, China, India, and even Mexico and Thailand is that it seemed a bit monochromatic. Oddly, I felt the same way about Irish cooking. This may not be as odd as it seems, as both cuisines are heavily based on a white starchy food, rice for the Philippines and the potato for Ireland. The centerpiece of our Philippine kitchen was a rather large hamper for dispensing rice which could easily hold 50 pounds of rice, which we bought in 25 pound bags, three to four at a time. And, one bag generally lasted about three weeks, as a rice cooker full of rice was made at virtually every meal. This impression of low variety was reinforced by visits to Philippine restaurants in New York and San Francisco. It is no surprise that our favorite restaurant was not Philippine, but Korean. Philippine cuisine almost seems like the anti-Mediterranean cuisine, with no cheese, wine, citrus, or tomatoes to speak of, and little wheat based culture. And, the primary vinegar seems to be apple rather than grape.

Like the dozen or more Irish cookbooks I have reviewed, this title goes a long, long way to dispel the notion that Philippine food is uninteresting. Not only do the authors give us a great selection of recipes and heartfelt, firsthand stories of their Philippine families, friends, and sources, the book is organized in exactly the right way to best refresh my memories of this cuisine and introduce the cuisine to people who may have not yet experienced it. It is far, far better than the Alejandro volume and the other Philippine source I have reviewed, `Filipino Cuisine' by Gerry Gelle.

In spite of the differences, it is no surprise that all three books begin with recipes for adobo, the one Philippine dish that is known around the world. It is no surprise that Raymond Sokolov, the eminent New York culinary journalist, who also did the Introduction to this book, put chicken adobo as one of his 101 most important recipes in `The Cook's Canon'. Fortunately, Besa and Dorotan give us a whole new approach to chicken adobo. Unlike Gelle, Alejandro, and Sokolov, who all treat it as a simple chicken braise, Besa and Dorotan begin prep for the dish by doing a two hour to overnight marinade. I immediately guess that this will go a long way to making a tenderer dish, as it will have almost exactly the same effect as brining the chicken, due to the high salt content of the soy sauce.

Another thing all three authors have in common is their story of the influences on Philippine cooking. While all touch on the subject, I give the highest marks in this area to Besa and Dorotan, as they do the best job of associating specific dishes and techniques to sources. The discussion of the Mexican influence is especially good, as the authors give us Philippine versions of empanadas, escabeche, Rellenos, and menudo. The Spanish influence is also felt in the Filipino love of canned meats such as Vienna sausages and corned beef and custards such as the Spanish caramelized flans plus Spanish paellas

They even go so far as to discuss the rather unfortunate influence of American culture on Philippine cuisine, which is all to heavily weighted toward the `fast food nation' end of the spectrum, just as we Yankee homies are weaning ourselves away from slavish adulation of the golden arches. On the positive side, the Yanks did imbue the Philippines with a love of chiffon cakes and cream (banana, of course) pies.

While the authors make no attempt to make this a complete study of regional differences, there are several regional highlights in many chapters.

The only thing I miss in this book is a good recipe for the Chinese speciality, dumplings with barbecued pork filling. The empanadas come close, but they are not the same as the soft, bready Chinese style our Filipino household would buy from the local Filipino / Asian market, frozen.

I always love a good bibliography, and the authors have given us one, including a number of more obscure Filipino sources. It also has a wide selection of books on the cuisines of countries which have influenced Filipino cooking, such as `My Mexico: A Culinary Odyssey' from Diana Kennedy and most of the works by the Duguid and Alford team.

If you are looking for a Filipino cookbook, this should unquestionably be your first choice.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A scholarly anthropology Feb. 9 2007
By Eli Jeproks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One thing must be made clear: "Memories ..." is not cookbook. Yes, the authors, who happen to be the proprietors of Cendrillon in New York, provide good recipes for many of the important Filipino dishes. But the book is much more a scholarly anthropology of what is perhaps the least understood of Asia's great cuisines. It tells you which dishes are truly indigenous, which ones are borrowed and adapted from Spain and Mexico and which ones are from Asian neighbors. The authors also tell you about wonderful personalities in the Philippines who produce dishes to die for. There is the master lechonero of Silay and the famous puto maker of Pila. There is even a bit of adventure -- they take you along in the hunt for the very elusive Kurakding, more rare and better tasting apparently than the white truffle of Piedmont! A fun book for intelligent foodies!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Expectations and Better Than I Imaged March 29 2007
By J. James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My wife is from the Philippines. I saw this book on the IACP Cookbook Awards Finalist list and thought she would enjoy a book containing recipes for some of the Philippine cuisine she hasn't cooked herself. Received the book today and expected it to be good, but it is even better than I imagined. There are many many fine color photographs with few text only pages and recipes for everything I've heard my wife mention over the years. I most enjoy cookbooks that go into the culture and history as well as providing top quality photographs, recipes, best practices, examples, etc. This book appears to have it all!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three stars for the pictures, but..... Nov. 8 2008
By Pamela Ferrer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I really needed a traditional Filipino cookbook. It's cool that they turned Filipino dishes into something fancy and pretty. As far as recipes are concerned; some looks good, some looks questionable (coconut milk on dinugooan?). I noticed they made their chicken adobo with coconut milk, which is fine (though I'm not used to this) but the rice that supposed to compliment this has a complicated recipe. It has bamboo shoots and shiitake mushrooms in it. I'm disappointed that some of my favorite dishes weren't included like binagoongang baboy, mechado, embutido, pancit palabok, pancit bihon and lumpiang prito. I also find it funny that they've completely shied away from the recipe for puto, although I do agree that a good one is a rare find. It seems that this book has either missing favorites or altered the recipes to cater a different audience. It's interesting that the authors has a restaurant in SoHo, NY, which probably explain the alterations. I wish I knew that before buying the book because I would have reevaluated my decision.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful inspiration for foodies like me. Nov. 28 2006
By Beaumont Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
My Filipina wife of 34 years looked at the photos and was inspired to try dishes like the black-rice paella that she has never tried before. She also remembered other dishes she has forgotten over the years and made a list of those to cook. The book is an oversize coffee-table book with many beautiful photos to tempt your tastebuds. Many cookbooks of Filipino recipes are listed on Amazon and are in my wife's library, but this one is the best of the lot and is only a little more expensive than the others but darn well worth it.
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