Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

CAAS director Madeline Hsu writes about Chinese American cookbooks and ethnic food

Mon, February 10, 2014
Book jackets of How to Cook and Eat in Chinese (Image courtesy of Asian American Writers' Workshop)
Book jackets of How to Cook and Eat in Chinese (Image courtesy of Asian American Writers' Workshop)

Domesticating Ethnic Foods and Becoming American

Madeline Hsu

How to Cook and Eat in Chinese was the earliest popular, English-language guide to Chinese cooking. First published in 1945 and reprinted several times, it remains in wide use today.  The author, Dr. Buwei Yang Chao, wrote the cookbook at the urging of fellow faculty wives in New Haven, in particular Agnes Hocking, wife if the idealist philosopher William Hocking.  Trained as a physician, Dr. Chao reassured American housewives that she could teach them the complex and exotic art of Chinese cooking because she had learned as an adult herself while a student in Japan.


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