OP: The Gourmet Chinese Regional Cookbook
Calvin and Audrey Lee
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Kitchen Arts & Letters will donate all proceeds from the sale of this book from the personal collection of Gladys Bourdain to the Food Chain Workers Alliance in the memories of Anthony and Gladys Bourdain. The price reflects our intention to raise money for this cause.
From the latter part of the nineteenth century through the first half of the twentieth, exposure to Chinese cooking in the United States almost exclusively consisted of the Cantonese cuisine—and adaptations that evolved out of it—of the earliest Chinese immigrants to the country. The repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the return of US soldiers based around the world during WWII marked a serious shift in American interest in global cuisines.
Those early years of cookbooks focusing on international fare did their best, approximating cuisines for which the ingredients weren’t always readily available. As interest built and a global economy boomed, books began to offer something a little deeper.
The Gourmet Chinese Regional Cookbook (1976), a strong representative of that generation of cookbooks, simply and neatly presents dishes from the four cardinal directions, providing historical, geographic, and cultural context to build a foundation of understanding around significant regional differences.
From the slowly simmered dishes and delicate imperial pastries of the East, the diverse diet influenced by extreme climate and proximity to the Silk Road in the North, the spiced and spicy dishes of the West, and to the fast-cooking stir-frys and dim sum of the South, Chinese cuisine is vast in its variability. The book is both serious and highly accessible. It remains a valuable resource to this day.
This copy is a 1980 printing in very good condition, save for notable grease and food splatter stains on the latter third of the book. No stains impinge upon the legibility of the text. The jacket, also very moderately stained, is missing a small triangle of paper on the front upper corner but is otherwise in excellent condition. Laid in we have found a hand written, untitled recipe, which we have not removed. The front free endpaper bears Christopher Bourdain’s name and a gift inscription dated Christmas 1980.