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It happens, every once in a while – a book comes along and I can’t keep my hands off it.  I start testing even before I’ve pitched it as an assignment, and then, once I’ve got the assignment, I can’t stop testing more and more, beyond what duty calls for.  By the time I’m done – if I’m ever done – the book is a porcupinish hash of Post-its and scrawled notes and mysterious stains.  Afterward the resulting monstrosity takes its permanent place on the kitchen shelves, a battle-scarred altar of 70 or 80 titles I refer to regularly.  The other 900 live upstairs.

Chinatown Kitchen is not a perfect book, but I adore it even with its flaws.  I find myself returning to it again and again, even though I may have other plans or better ideas.  That’s love, I suppose.  As with death, taxes, and that last bit of pork belly, what use resisting?

Click here to read this week’s review of ‘Chinatown Kitchen’ in the Washington Post.  

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