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OP: The China Moon Cookbook

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by Barbara Tropp

Barbara Tropp (1948–2001), a New Jerseyan with a master’s in Chinese culture from Princeton, credited time spent in Taiwan and the head of her host family, Po-Fu, for her appreciation and understanding of the philosophies and techniques of Chinese cuisine. Upon returning to the US, she decided her interests in Chinese culture lay with food more than academia.

Dropping out of her Ph.D. program, Tropp became an acclaimed cooking instructor and published her first book, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking (1982). In 1983 she opened China Moon Cafe in San Francisco. The restaurant offered a distinctly Californian approach to Chinese cooking, emphasizing fresh, locally-sourced produce and eschewing anything canned or processed. This cookbook followed in 1992.

Replete with recipes from the restaurant and enriching headnotes and asides, the book is content-rich. Most recipes call for a dozen or more ingredients, but Tropp is a passionate and effective guide.

A sampling of dishes that catch our eye:

  • stir-fried shrimp with fresh fennel and egg noodles 
  • hot and sour pork ribbons with Shanghai noodles and winter chard 
  • lamb sausage flavored with ginger and Szechwan pepper
  • black tea and spice smoked duck breast
This copy is a second printing in Very Good condition, signed to a previous owner. Lightly dampstained along the bottom edge, mostly impacting the jacket and first few pages with rippling. Otherwise Near Fine. Still exciting 30 years later and a great resource for an enthusiastic cook.

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