Madame Chiang's Mandarin Recipe Book


Black and white paper menu of 22 pages. The cover has a black and white picture of a bowl and spoon with flower patterns. Inside the booklet, on the left page features a picture and on the right page features a recipe with instructions. The first page on the left features a black and white sketch of Cecilia Chiang and on the right page a description of her cooking philosophy. The next pages detail recipes from appetizers, soups, vegetables, and main dishes.

A recipe book is a collection of typical or popular recipes of that particular chef’s style or of a particular cuisine. The first American cookbook is dated in 1796, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. In the 19th century, cookbooks began to be used as a kitchen reference and were written primarily for housewives. By the latter half of the 19th century, cookbooks were written by women’s organizations. By the 20th century, manufacturing canning companies began to create cookbooks for the American housewife. Today, many cookbooks are published by famous chefs and professionals.

The organization of a cookbook varies across cultures. A western cookbook typically categorizes main dishes by ingredients. In Cecilia Chiang’s recipe, she categorizes her recipes by serving order and is outline much like a menu: appetizers, soups, vegetables, and main dishes.

Chiang’s cookbook is dated in the 1990s. By then, she had held her own cooking classes and taught well-known chefs such as Julia Child and Alice Waters. Her recipes were sought after by Trader Vic himself, who pleaded with Chiang to give him her recipe to the Peking Duck.

Date Made: 1974

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Work and Industry: Asian Pacific American Business, Food


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift from Cecilia Chang

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2013.0127.02Accession Number: 2013.0127Catalog Number: 2013.0127.02

Object Name: recipe book

Physical Description: paper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 7 5/8 in x 7 5/8 in; 19.3675 cm x 19.3675 cm


Record Id: nmah_1444306

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