On the Noodle Road

A food writer travels the Silk Road, immersing herself in a moveable feast of foods and cultures and discovering some surprising truths about commitment, independence, and love Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she d lived for than a decade Who really invA food writer travels the Silk Road, immersing herself in a moveable feast of foods and cultures and discovering some surprising truths about commitment, independence, and love Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she d lived for than a decade Who really invented the noodle she wondered, like many before her But also How had food and culture moved along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe and what could still be felt of those long ago migrations With her new husband s blessing, she set out to discover the connections, both historical and personal, eating a path through western China and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Mediterranean The journey takes Lin Liu into the private kitchens where the headscarves come off and women not only knead and simmer but also confess and confide The thin rounds of dough stuffed with meat that are dumplings in Beijing evolve into manti in Turkey their tiny size the measure of a bride s worth and end as tortellini in Italy And as she stirs and samples, listening to the women talk about their lives and longings, Lin Liu gains a new appreciation of her own marriage, learning to savor the sweetness of love freely chosen.
On the Noodle Road A food writer travels the Silk Road immersing herself in a moveable feast of foods and cultures and discovering some surprising truths about commitment independence and love Feasting her way throug

  • Title: On the Noodle Road
  • Author: Jen Lin-Liu
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 473
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • 1 thought on “On the Noodle Road”

    1. I really wanted to like this. It combines two things I love: food writing and travel writing. Unfortunately it also including a fair amount of navel gazing on the author's part. - oh, marriage, what are you and what do you mean to me and to my career? oh, what is a wife? How can I be a wife and have a fabulous career as an author who gets to travel the world and eat? Maybe that last one is not fair, but it is the one that finally made me put the book down. Perhaps if I had finished I would find [...]

    2. 3.5 stars, bumping it up to 4 largely out of spite, because wow, there are so many negative reviews of a very particular kind. A lot of folks don't like how often the author talks about her marriage. Or the fact that she spends a lot of time describing her struggles with her identity (as a woman, as a wife, as a Chinese-American living in China). Most of the top reviews here use the word "whining." And I don't think it's a coincidence that this is the third book I've read in a row by an Asian-Am [...]

    3. It's hard to say whether I liked this book. I found Jen Lin-Liu, the memoirist, incredibly annoying, what with her constant angst about whether being married was going to crimp her style, require something of her (like basic consideration for her husband), or affect her independence. Anyone who is married is going to tell you that marriage does do all that, but that is kind of the point of it. I was also relatively unclear about what caused her to undertake the trip she records in the first plac [...]

    4. I really wanted to give this book a higher rating because it combined my love of history and love of food but I couldn't get past the author. She came across as a "woe is me" writer who spent a good portion of the book questioning her relationship with her husband and complaining about how she was suppose to balance her life as a traveling food author, food school owner with her marriage.

    5. Warning: Don't read this book on an empty stomach, or if you're on Atkins, because you'll be craving carbohydrates and your stomach will probably be growling throughout the entire book.Jen Lin-Liu was a journalist, food writer, and owner of a cooking school in Beijing. While on her honeymoon in Italy, as she marveled over the culinary delights she and her husband enjoyed, she started wondering about pasta. (And who wouldn't?) More specifically, she started wondering about pasta's provenance, giv [...]

    6. Really 3.5 stars I suppose, but three would feel a bit unfair.I wasn't sure I'd be able to get into the book at first, but the Chinese section proved interesting enough that I decided to plunge ahead to the end; the strength of that part lay in Jen's depiction of several various regions of the wheat-based northern part of the country, rather than concentrating on the Han northeast, each seeming a bit more "western" as she heads west. I didn't feel she really enjoyed Central Asia, or Iran for th [...]

    7. Combining travelogue, history, cultural investigation, food diary, recipes, and memoir, On the Noodle Road is a layered treat of a book. Journalist and cooking school founder Jen Lin-Liu was inspired to travel the ancient Silk Road route from Beijing to Rome after being struck by similarities between Chinese and Italian pasta dishes. Common wisdom holds that Marco Polo brought the noodle from China back to Italy, but the evidence is shaky. Lin-Liu decided to investigate cooking styles along the [...]

    8. Like an undercooked noodle, this book lacks substance. The author tried to write a book about food and cooking as well as a travelogue, and succeeded at neither. Had she met either goal well, we would have a very different reading experience. Unfortunately, my experience with this book is diluted by the failure of the author to achieve her goals. Almost immediately, I knew I was in trouble when I read the third sentence in the book, "'That's like making me choose my favorite family member!' she [...]

    9. "On the Noodle Road" is a travelogue of the Silk Road with a little too much personal introspection and not quite enough noodles. To be sure, there are sufficient recipes and descriptions of meals I will never experience. However there is too much repetition and not enough depth to the food cultures Jen Lin-Liu is trying to describe. Perhaps I am spoiled by Bourdain and Zimmerman, but how often does the author have to describe the ubiquity of yogurt or the pounding and rolling of pasta dough? He [...]

    10. It was OK for me. After awhile, the descriptions seemed to go on forever and I thought that she talked too much about her marriage. Perhaps it was not the right time for me to read this book. I love food and travel, but just read another travel book recently. Perhaps I needed a non-travel book in between this one. I'm still going to take a look at her first book and give it a shot.

    11. The second book by Jen Lin-Liu takes us along the ancient Silk Road as she attempts to discover the origin and path of pasta/noodles. The author is married now, has opened a cooking school in Beijing and spends part of her time in the US for her husband's career/education. She is struggling with being newly married and no longer independent, able to travel, or not, as she pleases. Her travels takes her through a culinary and cultural journey that is as much about societal issues and politics as [...]

    12. The author is a Chinese-American, raised in California and who now owns a cooking school in Beijing. While at a dinner in Italy, she began to wonder about the "age-old question" on the origin of noodles. Did Marco Polo really introduce the noodle from China to Italy?This work is a little cultural anthropology, a little cooking skills, a little travel guide, a little meditation on the role of women and feminism. It is a delightful, eclectic mix of all of the above. At the time of her trip, she ha [...]

    13. Jen Lin-Liu, a Chinese-American journalist, took a cooking class in Rome, and began wondering how noodles had originated. It has been disproven that Marco Polo brought them along the Silk Road from China but how had they ended up in Italy? She decides to make the journey herself to try to find out. She tastes and cooks her way westward through China, Central Asia, Iran, Turkey and finally Italy, meeting many fascinating people and cultures.Along the way she also wrestles with being newly-married [...]

    14. Almost 400 pages about noodles got to be a bit much, but this book is still an enjoyable trip across a large part of the world. The author's strident feminism is somewhat blatant at times but can be forgiven, but I am glad I am not married to her and I am sure the feeling is returned! I no longer eat wheat/other grain products but enjoyed the read nevertheless. From : Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked bac [...]

    15. While there were wonderful descriptions of food and ultimately a follow-through on the author's inner journey, which was not just to follow the Silk Road to discover the origin of noodles but rather to travel through these unknown spaces to discover the origin of herself, I was bored. Coleen Marlo didn't make me want to continue to listen. She didn't enliven the food or make it sound yummy. She read it. She didn't bring Jen alive even though a lot of Jen's insecurities were there. Nor did she gi [...]

    16. I really wanted to like this book, and honestly, what's not to like? It traces noodle cuisine along the Silk Road. How fun! I think it's the narrator who did me in. Weirdly artificial voice at times, generally annoying all the time. I didn't want to listen, butI wanted to learn about the origin of noodles--from west to east or east to west. I could have listened to the first and last chapters and skipped the interminable middle. As I've confessed before, I don't much like memoirs, so I might hav [...]

    17. I'd expected to learn about noodles as they relate to agriculture, climate, and culture from China through the Silk Road to Italy. Instead it is part travel log and part memoir and doesn't work as either. The author sets aside what she says experts have written and uses her own anecdotes to determine how certain foods are linked among different regions. It isn't much about noodles since she didn't mention them in the Iran part until the last quarter of the section. She even said that noodles are [...]

    18. I'm not one to read travelogues or food books, but I was given this after I returned from a trip from Iran to China.I enjoyed my trip a lot more than the author did. The author alternates between pompous and anxious. It reads like a hastily assembled magazine article, interminably stretched to boring point.I didn't finish this book. I usually finish books but this hadn't improved by half way through and it was annoying me so I gave up.

    19. I may not be enough of a food lover to really appreciate this book. But while I found the descriptions of food sort of boring since I don't cook, I was interested in the cultural aspects of the book. The author - sometimes accompanied by her husband, sometimes not - traveled along the Silk Road through many exotic and often dangerous countries and regions. And along the way she learned that no matter what, human beings just enjoy a good meal. Which I can relate to.

    20. The actual story was quite dull, but the recipes included are simply worth the purchase of the book. It is a story about a trip of a newlywed through China, Iran, Turkey, and eventually Italy examining the similarities and differences of each areas noodles. That part of the story is pretty intact, but I feel that there is much more. It was a glorified travel novel that was not that interesting.

    21. I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure if it answered the questions it set out to answer, but it offered a peek into a lot of places with which I have no familiarity and that made it worth reading. But If I ever get the chance to travel as extensively as this author, I promise not to sound as jaded and world weary as she does at times.

    22. Fascinating and richly descriptive. Would have given this four stars but for Lin-Liu's interwoven whining about her charmed marriage and international career. Made for jarring "first world problems" contrast between the lives of most of the women she interviewed and her own.

    23. An interesting idea, interesting travels, lots of interesting food. But in to end, it dragged on too long. And she never could figure out how noodles ended up in China and Italy. And not, it was not Marco Polo.

    24. Saw this on the shelves at the library and was expecting a history of noodles, or something of the sort. Instead, I got a memoir of a chick whining about her marriage.

    25. Interesting premise but a lot of silly, spurious conclusions. This would have made a great feature piece in a magazine. There's just wasn't enough material for a book.

    26. I'm surprised to see so many negative reviews about this on GR. I always enjoy travelogues, and this one features foodwhat's not to like???

    27. A delicious view of history in search of noodles along the silk road, from China to Italy, with many stops between.

    28. While conducting my noodle research, I also looked into the movement of ingredients along the Silk Road. Precious flavorings like saffron, which originated in Persia, were traded like diamonds. Pomegranates, which hailed from the Middle East and may have been the real forbidden fruit mentioned in the Bible, found their way into Renaissance kitchens and Chinese gardens alike. The names of certain ingredients hinted at their faraway origins: xigua, the Chinese name for watermelon, means "western m [...]

    29. On the Noodle Road is Lin-Liu's attempt to unearth the answer to the question: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? And, if not, from where did they really come?To do so, she sets off on an overland route of the Silk Road, traveling from China to Italy via the western territories, Iran, Turkey, and Greece. And while it's a search for the truth of the noodle's origin, it's just as much a quest for her own identity.Along her journey, Lin-Liu eats, cooks, eats, and cooks some mo [...]

    30. Honestly, this book could have been so much better than it was. I love food, I love travel, but this galI simply couldn't stand her. Not only did I think her writing was lackluster, but her tone INFURIATED ME. She sounded so ungrateful and judgey for most of the trip and I just kept thinking "My God, you're doing something people only dream about." I get it, she's technically a food critic, but she was so snobby and condescending. Also she made stupid statements like "a panther shot in Africa"er [...]

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