Chinese New Year and the Drama of Cooking

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"Dragon Lantern" CC BY-NC-ND linkway88

The Chinese Year of the Dragon began this week. In celebration, I'd like to highlight a cookbook by Su Chung (aka Lucille Davis): Court Dishes of China: The Cuisine of the Ch'ing Dynasty (1966). This book is interesting for several reasons. In addition to the pages and pages of recipes included in it, the Forward to the book details the dramatic story of how these recipes were acquired from the Japanese Princess Alchingioro, the wife of a political prisoner, and how the author's sense of duty compelled her to study cooking (previously not an interest of hers) to carefully compile this cookbook. It's quite a sensational history of food and culture.
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