There was a period of time growing up when, after my father suffered an injury, our home was engulfed in the smells of gnarled roots, fungi, and other unidentifiable solids simmering for hours on the stove. The mixture was prescribed by a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) who presumably informed my parents about what it entailed. But to me, Asian herbalism was as opaque as the thick, black liquid that was strained from that decoction.
Fast-forward to this fall, when I’m expecting my first child and two books are being published about how ancient wisdom from Asian cultures can be incorporated into everyday eating and living routines. Both were written (in English) by Asian American women, each with a warm personal narrative about their own rediscovery of the nourishing traditions of their cultural heritage. But having grown up stateside, they’re both tweaking those traditions according to their modern, Asian American tastes, taking what they’ve found to be most helpful and accessible to them and leaving behind what’s not.
“People don’t always