Madame Chiang’s Chinese Cookbook

I found this little gem in an antique shop in Madison,  Wisconsin a couple years ago. The book was published in 1941, and is labeled “Compliments of Capitol Bakers.” At first I thought that a Chinese cookbook was a strange premium to give customers of a bakery, but given the time period, it makes sense. Chinese food was exceptionally exotic to American tongues at this time, and therefore this little book was a pretty unique offering. Definitely more so than a calendar or notepad, which were common business premiums at the time.

And yes, the illustrations are fairly offensive, in that 1940’s sort of way.

Click on the pages for enlargements.

Madame Chiang's Chinese Cookbook Cover

Introduction – “Chinese Cooking Captures America”

Madame Chiang's Cookbook Introduction

Easily digestible: you will be hungry in an hour.

And since when is beer considered an appetizer? I wonder if the tavern league or beer manufacturers in Wisconsin helped to subsidize this printing?

The recipes inside are mostly the standard Americanized Chinese food we’ve come to expect, like Egg Foo Young, Chop Suey, Chow Mein, Fried Rice, etc. However, there are a couple that made me scratch my head.

Mandarin Style Kidneys in Creole Sauce

Mandarin Style Kidneys in Creole Sauce. Oh yes, that must be what they mean by ‘ancient Chinese secret.’

And check out the giant hands on the little cook dude.

Chinese Style Spiced Tongue

Chinese Style Spiced Tongue. I don’t know about you, but I like my tongue without raisins….


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