One Wok to Rule the Kitchen

May 01, 2013
By Holly Jennings

Breath of a Wok jacketTHE BREATH OF A WOK
Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young and Alan Richardson
Simon & Schuster
240 pp. $35.00



One wok runs to the sky’s edge
—Traditional saying


These are the first words you will come to in the book The Breath of a Wok by Grace Young. I like this saying, though I’m not sure what it means. I do know, however, that the word one seems important to understanding its meaning. Not in the sense that there is one wok in particular that has the ability to run to the sky’s edge (as in the Tolkien saying “one ring to rule them all”), but that all that is needed to do the job is one wok. In a wok, just one wok, you can do it all: stir-fry, pan-fry, deep-fry, steam, poach, boil, braise, smoke . . . run to the sky’s edge.


An appreciation for the amazing versatility of the wok is one of several (more…)