Meet Madame Huang
Reporter Anna Mindess finds out how
a taste of pressed duck launched Alameda resident Carolyn Phillips
on a cookbook career
By Anna Mindess | Photos by Scott Peterson
I’m in the kitchen of Alameda resident Carolyn Phillips watching her practiced hands wield a wooden Chinese rolling pin to roll out disks of dough. She forms each disk into “a fried egg shape,” and with nimble fingers, deftly wraps each around a bit of sweet bean paste. Smoothing the buns, she places them into a bamboo steamer to cook. When the dumplings emerge, she carefully snips the tops of each to form bunny ears or hedgehog bristles, adding red dots or black sesame seeds for eyes and noses, gradually bringing the buns to life.
With these same hands that knead dough and shape bunny dumplings, Phillips also wrote and elegantly illustrated an impressive 524-page cookbook, All Under Heaven. The exquisite volume, with its 300+ recipes illuminating the 35 cuisines of China, came out in August, 2016. Within a few months, the book had drawn praise from critics at the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times, among many others.
Called an academic and a scholar for her thorough research and deep devotion to her subject, Phillips is anything but a stuffy know-it-all.… Read More