How America Lost ‘The Key to Chinese Cooking’


A friend of mine, today, shared this wonderfully bitter-sweet article by Mayuhk Sen via; How America Lost ‘The Key to Chinese Cooking’.

It’s a beautifully written article, both poignant and somewhat magical; about the life and times of Irene Kuo; her wealthy childhood in 1920s Shanghai to the bustling world of mid-century New York.  I can almost taste the food as Sen describes it and envision myself at one of Kuo’s opulent Tree restaurants in Manhattan in the early 1960s.

Though I had never heard of her, she was a big deal in her time (mid 50s – late 70s) only for both her, and her book, to fall into obscurity.  Of course, now, I wish to seek out her book, but an article being written about her only made everyone else want to rush out and find a used copy of her out-of-print tome.  Perhaps someday I will stumble upon this Chinese cookery book, I dreamily imagine at a quaint used bookstore in an adorable village or downtown area somewhere.

But, in the meantime I’m glad to have read this article, to know something about this woman and her strides in the field of cooking; bringing her homeland closer to her.  Go give it a read, it’s well worth it.


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