Reading: On the Noodle Road
When I last caught up with Jen in Beijing a couple of years ago, she mentioned she was researching a book on noodles and was planning a trip across the silk road to investigate the history and story of noodles. I’m so glad I picked this up at the library and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are many chapters in the book that I could relate to having lived in Beijing at the same time (2007-2011) when Jen was there and have spent many evenings making dumplings and just dining at Black Sesame kitchen, even when Candice was running the show when Jen was away.
I read her first book nearly a decade ago “Serve the people: A stir fried journey through China” which I suppose was a different time and place in her life when she wrote her first book. I enjoyed both books equally given the time frame we lived in Beijing and evolved through the decade.
Several parts of the book talks about the role of “wife” and “women” as she journeyed across the Silk Road as a newly wed and I had exactly the same sentiments, apprehension about giving up life as I knew it, work and identity to become a trailing spouse. In fact, I had a very difficult time doing so in Macao. Unfortunately, it was also in addition to a toxic social environment where I inherited my husband’s friends’ wives – pretentious, negative and soul crushing “friendships” on a parallel universe I had no choice in. Never got why women would constantly put each other down in the most vicious way in the name of gossip and validating their own insecurities, instead of being supportive. So much unkindness.
The noodle search adventures begin in Beijing and takes us across land from the West of China to Turkey, Iran and finally Italy. Her husband Craig joined her on some legs of the journey. The book is also peppered with recipes – variations of ravioli/dumplings and all sorts of wheat noodle like things that varied in the different countries. On the Noodle road is a delicious read of food, self discovery and travel.
I’m so happy to read how Jen is raising her two children in Cuba where her husband is based.