TO THE PEOPLE, FOOD IS HEAVEN
Stories of Food and Life in a Changing China
A tantalizing portrait of contemporary China through food.
To The People Food is Heaven provides delightful and edifying route into contemporary China – through its cuisine. Like Peter Hessler, with Anthony Bourdain along for the ride, Audra delivers a terrific and wide-ranging look at China, one that makes the reader very hungry…. From Shanghai’s famed red braised pork; to the joy of discovering “double-skin” milk, a crème brulee-like dessert; to addictive and intoxicating Sichuan favorites; or a stealthy cup of salty yak butter tea with a Tibetan monk; a fluffy spring onion omelet cooked by a farmer for Audra; and to the best fried chicken in Beijing; she travels the country, meets its people, and samples their finest. To The People Food is Heaven delves into perennial and pressing issues confronting China. For a fortunate few, life is comfortable. For others, it’s a fight to hold on to what they say should be the most rudimentary rights -- a place to call home, wages for work done, the freedom to speak one’s mind. And for many, it is still a hand-to-mouth struggle to survive. China’s yawning rich-poor divide, urban and rural reform, intolerance for dissent, and problems with growing frustration with corruption are personalized through the stories of the people she met. These are weighty topics, and by tying them in to food and a rich cast of characters, The Feast is Red provides a fresh perspective beyond the country’s anonymous identity as an economic powerhouse and the clichéd and outdated images of bicycles and Mao suits. Audra has reported throughout China throughout much of the previous decade, and has returned to there and to Singapore, where she grew up, now, after having spent the 2009-2010 academic year at Harvard where she was a Nieman Fellow.