Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snapshot: Ferran Adria & Grace Lin

"Decoding Ferran Adria" by chef Anthony Bourdain looks at Adria's work - a mix of high-tech and fundamental. A chef who loves the most basic of restaurants when he eats out and seeks to evoke memories of flavors and the essence of food while also playing with our senses and expectations of food. Examples of this play include serving a fish that seems raw, but is perfectly cooked; apple cavier; the filling of ravioli but without anything holding it together (looks like an unbroken raw egg yoke); an egg yolk w/the outside carmelized and a tiny topping; a fish dish that you eat while holding a sprig of rosemary (the herb is too strong if added to the dish, but the scent gives just the right amount of "flavor"). So, what would Adria do if his experiments had to be low-tech way. Could it work? If so, what would the results be?

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by illustrator and writer Grace Lin delivers a mix of luminous two- and full-color images and elegant text which updates and invigorates classic Chinese characters and themes through fairy tales created for the novel. The main story is of a Chinese girl Minli who sets out to find a way to improve the fortune of her poor parents and village. Her adventure is interwoven with the evolution of her parents as they mourn her absence and the many stories that are told by various characters along the way. The illustrations, while not integral to the narrative as they are in say, The Invention of Hugo Cabret or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, are a delight and serve as an effective to draw reluctant readers in and expand the reader's visual knowledge more about China and Chinese culture.

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