The Next Big Thing: On “Red All Over,” My Forthcoming Memoir

(At my wedding banquet in China, posing with one of our guests)

I am thrilled that Susan Blumberg-Kason invited me to participate in the The Next Big Thing, an Internet meme where writers answer questions about their latest or forthcoming works.

Susan is the author of the forthcoming memoir Good Chinese Wife. This book traces the five years she spent trying to assimilate into a Chinese family, after jumping quickly into marriage with a Chinese man. But over time, she comes to reconsider what she thought it meant to be a wife, have a family, and raise a child — and faces the tough choice of whether or not to leave her Chinese family.

I’ve read portions of her memoir, and I can honestly say it’s a gripping story written from the heart. I loved Susan as a narrator because she shares so many of her vulnerabilities on the page. I liked the unusual, non-linear structure of her book as well, which really adds to the drama of her story and keeps you turning the pages.

And I’m sure many of you, like myself, can’t wait to get your hands on Susan’s book. To learn more, check out her Next Big Thing post from last week, or read the brief introduction to Good Chinese Wife on her website.

Now for my interview questions, which I’ll follow with introductions to several authors to watch for. Continue reading “The Next Big Thing: On “Red All Over,” My Forthcoming Memoir”

Ask the Yangxifu: Carolyn J. Phillips On Charming A Chinese Family Through Food

Carolyn J. Phllips
Accomplished Chinese food writer and yangxifu Carolyn J. Phillips talks with me about food and what it takes to charm your Chinese family at the table. (photo from zesterdaily.com)

A few weeks ago, Carolyn Phillips wrote this to me:

Food is such an integral part of Chinese culture that it’s really hard to fit into a Chinese family if one isn’t adept at the cuisine. I suppose this is true to some extent with any country, but the Chinese are probably on par with the French and Italians when it comes to the importance of dining well. 

This is probably doubly important when a yangxifu doesn’t speak Chinese fluently but still hopes to be accepted. Have your readers talked much about this? I truly feel that the old saw about the way to a man’s stomach etc is gospel for us yangxifu.

Carolyn should know — she’s a yangxifu who devoted her adult life to mastering the art of Chinese cooking. She blogs about food at Out to Lunch and tweets about it as @MadameHuang. She’s also working on two forthcoming books on the subject — “Simple Pleasures from a Chinese Kitchen: Authentic Seasonal Recipes from Every Region of China” and “Culinary Goddesses: The Women Who Changed Our Dining Landscape… Recipes Included.” — and is a regular contributor writing about Chinese food for Zester Daily. In addition, she’s even fluent enough in Mandarin to do court interpreting.

In any event, Carolyn has discovered a thing or two about what it takes to woo a Chinese family that truly loves to eat through food. So I sat down with her — from one yangxifu to another — to talk about all things related to food and Chinese family. As Chinese New Year approaches, it’s a topic that will come in handy for lots of readers.

Just be warned, Carolyn mentions a lot of delicious Chinese food with links to her recipes — you may not want to read this one on an empty stomach. 😉 Continue reading “Ask the Yangxifu: Carolyn J. Phillips On Charming A Chinese Family Through Food”