Me and Fuchsia Dunlop. We’ve got a thing going on.

Fuchsia doesn’t know about it, though, so don’t go telling her and freaking her out.

I heard about Dunlop’sSichuan Cookery (the US title is “Land of Plenty“) through the first food blog I ever started reading, Though Small, it is Tasty (which seems to be on hiatus). Dunlop also got tremendous writeups at a favourite US blog Tigers & Strawberries (which reviewed her second book, Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook here).

I cook from those books at least once a week, usually more. She’s permanently changed where I shop, what’s in my cupboard and what’s on my plate. The picture above shows some new cupboard staples – red (chilli) oil, hunanese salted chillies and sweet aromatic soy sauce.

On Monday I managed to get my hands on a copy of her new food memoir Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper, which I’ve been hassling for asking about in bookstores for a couple of weeks.

us edition

oz edition

As isn’t uncommon, the US and Australian covers
are different. Can you pick which is which, though?

Nah, the one with the overblown lychees and those
slightly lewd mushrooms is Australian.

I’m keen to start it but I can’t do that until there’s a
good clear stretch in front of me – judging from past
experience, once I start reading I won’t be doing
anything else for a while.


#1 Francis Xavier Holden on 03.05.08 at 7:03 pm

zoe – how long you been rockin this Nigella gig?

#2 Francis Xavier Holden on 03.05.08 at 7:05 pm

Love the page layout and feel.

(hides ip – sleazily downloads html and css templates)

#3 Zoe on 04.05.08 at 10:03 am

Just a week, FX. *smilles shyly* And thanks!

It’s a modfied copyblogger theme, designed by Chris Pearson.

#4 Bernice on 05.05.08 at 11:03 pm

What?! No burqua? Re Sharkfin – the OZ jacket looks horribly like the early 80s editions of the Commonsense Cookbooks from Angus & Robertson. So commonsense, I blame my inability to cook entirely on them.

But I’m firmly of the belief that a couple of weeks’ exposure to this most excellent blog will have me Nigella’ing the kitchen in no time.

#5 Zoe on 06.05.08 at 12:55 pm

You are burka-free Bernice (the reference is explained here).

And what were the cookbooks? I have the A&R 1985 Commonsense Greek and Italian in paperback:


I think that the air of ethno-delicious abundance makes for MUCH better covers than the cluttered, silly Australian edition of Sharkfin. As to whether they are responsible for your inability to cook, I couldn’t possibly comment ; )

#6 Zoe on 07.05.08 at 1:42 pm

And I told you something was going on. Look what just happened to the tag cloud:

giant fuschia tag

Nothing like ENORMOUS FONT to bring a typo to your attention, is there?

#7 Bernice on 09.05.08 at 7:50 am

Oh those jackets are actually quite good. I was thinking of the slightly later ones of the OZ only commonsense. You know the ones with lots of recipes for mutton. It was the use of the ampersand as design motif that struck me. Why the hell the Oz version of Dunlop was even devised is a mystery. Let us assume the jacket designer had NO idea about the book’s content. Sigh…

#8 Zoe on 09.05.08 at 12:52 pm

Oh, I don’t know that one Bernice and couldn’t find it online. I’ll keep sniffing the op shops and chuck out bins …

And the Oz Fucshia says it’s printed and bound in Great Britain and credits “Two Associations” for the cover design. (And isn’t that a crap name for potential clients or the otherwise interested to google.)

#9 kim on 15.05.08 at 11:12 pm

does anyone know if fuscia dunlop was in chengdu when the earthquake hit? or what happened to all the great people she met in her travels? is there a way to help?

#10 Zoe on 09.06.08 at 9:33 pm

Hi Kim – just came across this interview. Dunlop was in London, just about to leave for Shanghia guiding a culinary tour.

There are a list of involved charities at the end of the linked post, just before the recipe.

#11 Moe on 03.07.09 at 12:58 am

Shark Fin Soup?
Have you ever seen sharks being fished for their fins?
They are hauled on board , their fins chopped off then dumped over the side to glide helplessly to the sea bed .
What sort of person can condone that? people who support this kind of thing are either willfully ignorant or just plain evil.

#12 Zoe on 03.07.09 at 8:35 am

Hey Moe, read the freakin’ post, and show me where I said I was a big fan of shark’s fin soup.

I would suggest that you read the book, but it has some big words and tricky concepts in it and I’m not sure you could handle it.

#13 Moe on 03.07.09 at 7:57 pm

Apologies… I was getting frustrated in my attempt to find a recipe for Fuschia Wine.

#14 Zoe on 03.07.09 at 11:07 pm

No problems. If you are really interested, you should read some of Dunlop’s writing on the subject

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