Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey from Beijing to San Francisco

Overview

A pioneer in the food world, Cecilia Chiang introduced Americans to authentic northern Chinese cuisine at her San Francisco restaurant, the Mandarin, in 1961, earning the adoration of generations of diners, including local luminaries such as Marion Cunningham, Ruth Reichl, and Chuck Williams. In THE SEVENTH DAUGHTER, Chiang presents a classic collection of recipes framed by her gripping life's story. Beginning with her account of a privileged childhood in 1920s and 1930s Beijing, Chiang chronicles a 1,000-mile ...
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Overview

A pioneer in the food world, Cecilia Chiang introduced Americans to authentic northern Chinese cuisine at her San Francisco restaurant, the Mandarin, in 1961, earning the adoration of generations of diners, including local luminaries such as Marion Cunningham, Ruth Reichl, and Chuck Williams. In THE SEVENTH DAUGHTER, Chiang presents a classic collection of recipes framed by her gripping life's story. Beginning with her account of a privileged childhood in 1920s and 1930s Beijing, Chiang chronicles a 1,000-mile trek on foot in the wake of the Japanese occupation, her arrival in San Francisco, and her transformation from accidental restaurateur to culinary pioneer. The book's recipes feature cherished childhood dishes and definitive Mandarin classics, while showcasing Cecilia's purist approach to authentic Chinese home cooking.

   • The signature recipes and extraordinary story of Cecilia Chiang, the grande dame of Chinese cooking in America.
   • Includes more than 80 recipes, 20 full-color styled food photographs, and archival photography from Chiang's private collection.
   • Recipes feature in-depth notes on sourcing ingredients and tips on simplifying the recipes.
   • Features menus for putting together Chinese banquets and dinners at home.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“If The Seventh Daughter were filled only with her delicious, doable recipes, it would be a wonderful book. But it's also a moving memoir of a plucky woman who grew up in a Beijing palace anad has witnessed everything from foot binding to free love.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

One of the Best Cookbooks of the Year: “Full of great food and life lessons.”
7 x 7

One of the Best Cookbooks of the Year
Angeleno

“Chiang's story is gripping.”
Los Angeles Times

“Part memoir and part recipe collection, [Chiang] shares her favorite recipes alongside great stories.”
The New York Times Book Review

One of the year's best cookbooks: “[A] fascinating book . . . Chiang's enticing, easy-to-follow recipes bridge the divide between restaurant and home cooking.”
Gourmet

“This book, a memoir peppered with recipes, tells of a long, eventful life well-lived. Perfect for both cooks and those interested in Chinese culture.”
Chicago Tribune

“A cookbook and a memoir woven together with precision and beauty.”
Portland Oregonian

“This book is a connoisseur's delight, as well as an interesting glimpse into an extraordinary life.”
Seattle Times

“A book that is hard to put down.”
Philadelphia Inquirer 

“The book authentically depicts Chinese food and culture. Perfect for Asian food fans.”
Solano magazine

“A passionate story of food and perseverance.”
Marin magazine

“Part cookbook, part memoir, it tells the fascinating story of Cecilia Chiang.”
San Jose Mercury News

“Yes, the book is filled with many wonderful recipes, but it's Chiang's storytelling that's the real star.”
Foreword magazine

“A tasty mix of personal history and recipes.”
More Magazine

“[The Seventh Daughter] recounts a life filled with enough trauma, tragedy, and triumph for a Ken Burns epic.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“A fascinating read.”
Library Journal

“A rich, heartfelt volume filled with recipes and stories . . . Foodies intrigued by Chinese food and culinary history—and the life of a remarkable restaurateur—will relish the journey through this book.”
Publishers Weekly

"It's a beautiful story...there's wonderful pictures in there and just great recipes."
Good Morning America

Publishers Weekly

A foreword by legendary chef Alice Waters hints that this volume is filled with authentic recipes, cultural stories and food memories. And indeed, Chiang, the one-time proprietor of San Francisco's famed Mandarin restaurant-which is widely credited with introducing Americans to real regional Chinese cuisine-presents a rich, heartfelt volume filled with recipes and stories from her life. There are recipes from the original Mandarin, of course: its Pot Stickers, Sichuan Spicy Eggplant, and Beggar's Chicken, which Chiang says is a favorite of Williams-Sonoma founder Chuck Williams. There are also recipes from the Mandarin in Beverly Hills (such as Sesame Shrimp) and many recipes from Chiang's family. Of Yun Hui's (My Mother's) Red-Cooked Pork, Chiang says, "I've had dreams about this dish that have been so vivid that I thought I could actually smell the aroma of the meat as it was being carried from the kitchen to the dining room of our family home in Beijing." Interspersed among the recipes are tales of growing up in China, leaving there after the Communist takeover in 1949 and founding her landmark restaurant in the U.S. Foodies intrigued by Chinese food and culinary history-and the life of a remarkable restaurateur-will relish the journey through this book. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

This absorbing memoir by 87-year-old Chiang (The Mandarin Way) chronicles her journey from Beijing to San Francisco by way of Tokyo. She is credited with introducing Americans to regional Chinese cuisine through her acclaimed restaurant, The Mandarin. Before her arrival in San Francisco, the food served in Chinatown was mostly Cantonese. Her life story of a privileged upbringing in Communist China and postwar Japan and on to accidental restaurateur and successful businesswoman in 1960s San Francisco makes for a fascinating read. Chiang's stories from her childhood provide a glimpse into early 20th-century Chinese culture, including the practice of foot binding for girls, the role of women in society, arranged marriages, and upper-class families in pre-Communist China. Sadly, 30 years passed before she was able to return to a greatly changed China and be reunited with her remaining family members. Recipes blend nicely with the events of each chapter, as do black-and-white family photos. Also included are a glossary of basic Chinese staples and sources for Asian foods. Recommended for public libraries.
—Christine Holmes

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580088220
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 7.75 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

In 1961 CECILIA CHIANG opened the Mandarin, which became a San Francisco institution. In 1974 she wrote the cookbook The Mandarin Way, and her career blossomed to include television appearances, cooking demonstrations, and contributions to international magazines and newspapers. She consults for popular Bay Area restaurants, including Betelnut and Shanghai 1930. Chiang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2009

    Fantastic

    The history intertwined with the recipes gives the reader/cook great insight into Chinese cooking and life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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