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"Culinary genealogy" - The Woks of Life

"Sometimes, the best recipes come from those who enjoy eating more than those who enjoy cooking." Bill Leung

Returning to my list of foodie websites/blogs here is The Woks of Life. I had actually crossed it off my list, because when I came to 'do' it a month or so ago, I saw that it was American and decided it was therefore not of interest. Plus I'm not a huge fan of Chinese food. Which is very culturally inappropriate of me. I was however, vaguely conscious that this was one of those websites that is well thought of out there in the blogosphere, so I decided to have another look today and attempt to get over my own personal prejudices.

I'm not quite sure that I have got over my Chinese food prejudice, however I do think that if you are at all interested in Chinese - and other Asian food - but particularly Chinese, and also Chinese/American food, which is different, then this is the site for you.

Perhaps the most interesting thing though is that this site is run by an entire family - mother, father and two daughters. It's a professional site and each member of the family has their own role in producing this very professional site.

It began back in 2013, and is still going with posts just about every other day. The older daughter Sarah began it at a time when her mother and father had returned to Beijing - I think to live at least for a while - and she and her sister Kaitlin were at university. The girls realised that they did not know how to cook the family's favourite food and so Sarah thought it would be a good way to learn more about her Chinese origins, and culture and to share this with others in a similar position. Hence the 'culinary genealogy' subtitle of the website. Since then Sarah has more or less taken over the management/marketing/photography of the website and works full-time, and her father fills the CEO/CFO role. Kaitlin runs social media - Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and mother Judy researches traditional Chinese food and runs Pinterest. A real group production. And an amazingly together family. But then I guess there are lots of family businesses - particularly in the food and drink arena it seems. Which is sort of interesting. Maybe food really does bring families together. Certainly our Zoom cooking classes have done that for us.

But back to the Leung family. Judy, in fact, is the only one of the family born in China - she came to America at the age of 16 and is the only one able to read Chinese. Father Bill has Chinese parents - his father was a cook, and he himself worked for many years in various takeaway and Chinese food establishments. So he is the expert on Chinese/American food and takeaway favourites. Kaitlin does her own thing, and is an expert on sauces apparently and Sarah likes fast and outdoor food.

They also write about travel - limited to America at the moment of course - and there is also a section called 'Life', which covers a very wide range of topics from their pet dog to what to eat at Thanksgiving. The food component includes an awful lot more than recipes, like How to stop food sticking to your wok, tips and tricks, equipment, ingredients ...

I hunted around the website looking to see what looked good and found that there were a very large number of recipes from places other than China, fusion food, original recipes from the Leung family's own kitchen and history and just plain old American food. No sesame prawn toasts though. Which is interesting if indeed they are a staple takeaway food. So here is a sort of selection of things that looked interesting: Peking duck grilled cheese - fusion food if ever there was fusion food and from Beijing too; Korean fried chicken and Korean fried cauliflower - fundamentally the same but applied to different things; Apple cinnamon coffee cake - apparently also found in China; Beef onion stir fry - very quick this one and finally from the takeaway kitchens Chinese stir fry sauce. With this in your kitchen you can whip up a stir-fry from whatever is in your fridge in 10 minutes.

Sarah is the one who is responsible for the photographs - and the videos too and very good she is at it too. It's a very professional, easy to navigate and interesting website.

I might try the apple cake some time soon. Always looking for new things to do with apples. Maybe for our next cooking class. Plus a quick stir fry of some kind.


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