This edition of a remarkable early Chinese cookbook in English captures the spirit of an accomplished and larger-than-life hostess and cook. Her skills in both arenas earned this book an introduction by the wife of the future British ambassador to China and a preface from the man who would become the Chinese ambassador to the Court of St. James.
Dolly Chow was the daughter of a Qing dynasty trade official and the wife of diplomat. Her cookbook, originally entitled simply Chinese Recipes, and published in Singapore, combined practical recipes that English-speakers could prepare using easily obtainable local ingredients, with firm but friendly notes on table manners, cultural touchpoints such as tea and wine consumption, and seating arrangements. No doubt buoyed up by the gregarious author’s reputation, the book went through more than 65 printings in Asia and the United States.
This edition, shepherded into print by the author’s great-great niece, includes brief additional commentary on table manners (which she feels have not always changed for the better), as well as the addition of full Chinese text.
A fascinating document.
Hardcover. Line drawings. In Chinese and English.