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Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey
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Columbia University Press 2016
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Description

Chinese food first became popular in America under the shadow of violence against Chinese aliens, a despised racial minority ineligible for United States citizenship. The founding of late-nineteenth-century “chop suey" restaurants that pitched an altered version of Cantonese cuisine to white patrons despite a virulently anti-Chinese climate is one of several pivotal events in Anne Mendelson's thoughtful history of American Chinese food. Chow Chop Suey uses cooking to trace different stages of the Chinese community's footing in the larger white society.
Mendelson begins with the arrival of men from the poorest district of Canton Province during the Gold Rush. She describes the formation of American Chinatowns and examines the curious racial dynamic underlying the purposeful invention of hybridized Chinese American food, historically prepared by Cantonese-descended cooks for whites incapable of grasping Chinese culinary principles. Mendelson then follows the eventual abolition of anti-Chinese immigration laws and the many demographic changes that transformed the face of Chinese cooking in America during and after the Cold War. Mendelson concludes with the post-1965 arrival of Chinese immigrants from Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and many regions of mainland China. As she shows, they have immeasurably enriched Chinese cooking in America but tend to form comparatively self-sufficient enclaves in which they, unlike their predecessors, are not dependent on cooking for a white clientele.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/29/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780231541299
ASIN:
B01M3TLT3L
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Anne Mendelson. (2016). Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey. Columbia University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Anne Mendelson. 2016. Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey. Columbia University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Anne Mendelson, Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey. Columbia University Press, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Anne Mendelson. Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey. Columbia University Press, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:24:49
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Anne Mendelson is a culinary historian and freelance writer and editor. Her books include Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey (Columbia, 2016) and Milk: The Surprising History of Milk Through the Ages (Knopf, 2008)—a cookbook-cum-capsule history of many facets of milk. She has written articles for Gastronomica and contributed to Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City, ed. Andrew Smith (Oxford University Press, 2015), The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, ed. Darra Goldstein (Oxford University Press, 2015), and The Oxford Companion to Cheese, ed. Catherine Donnelly (Oxford University Press, 2016).
      • name: Anne Mendelson
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Chow Chop Suey
fullDescription

Chinese food first became popular in America under the shadow of violence against Chinese aliens, a despised racial minority ineligible for United States citizenship. The founding of late-nineteenth-century “chop suey" restaurants that pitched an altered version of Cantonese cuisine to white patrons despite a virulently anti-Chinese climate is one of several pivotal events in Anne Mendelson's thoughtful history of American Chinese food. Chow Chop Suey uses cooking to trace different stages of the Chinese community's footing in the larger white society.
Mendelson begins with the arrival of men from the poorest district of Canton Province during the Gold Rush. She describes the formation of American Chinatowns and examines the curious racial dynamic underlying the purposeful invention of hybridized Chinese American food, historically prepared by Cantonese-descended cooks for whites incapable of grasping Chinese culinary principles. Mendelson then follows the eventual abolition of anti-Chinese immigration laws and the many demographic changes that transformed the face of Chinese cooking in America during and after the Cold War. Mendelson concludes with the post-1965 arrival of Chinese immigrants from Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and many regions of mainland China. As she shows, they have immeasurably enriched Chinese cooking in America but tend to form comparatively self-sufficient enclaves in which they, unlike their predecessors, are not dependent on cooking for a white clientele.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 1, 2016

        Food historian Mendelson (Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages) brings her talents to bear on the intertwined story of Chinese immigration and the evolution of American Chinese food. Beginning with Chinese workers arriving on the California coast during the Gold Rush, Mendelson describes how the cuisine prepared by Chinese cooks evolved as they adjusted cooking techniques and recipes to please American palates, and as historical events changed immigration patterns and foreign policy. Mendelson frames Chinese cooking techniques as a separate language so distinct from American and European styles as to be nearly unintelligible. The history of Chinese food in America then becomes the history of those who tried to translate Chinese cooking for the American masses, first in chop suey restaurants, then through cookbooks and increasingly sophisticated and regionally focused eateries. While the author's recurring descriptions of the "innate" or "instinctual" cooking abilities of average Chinese immigrants are hard to swallow, copious notes and quotes from primary documents show that this was clearly a popular viewpoint. VERDICT A solid choice for readers interested in Chinese immigration and U.S.-China history, as well as those curious about American foodways and culinary culture.--Rebecca Brody, Westfield State Univ., MA

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

Chinese food first became popular in America under the shadow of violence against Chinese aliens, a despised racial minority ineligible for United States citizenship. The founding of late-nineteenth-century “chop suey" restaurants that pitched an altered version of Cantonese cuisine to white patrons despite a virulently anti-Chinese climate is one of several pivotal events in Anne Mendelson's thoughtful history of American Chinese food. Chow Chop Suey uses cooking to trace different stages of the Chinese community's footing in the larger white society.
Mendelson begins with the arrival of men from the poorest district of Canton Province during the Gold Rush. She describes the formation of American Chinatowns and examines the curious racial dynamic underlying the purposeful invention of hybridized Chinese American food, historically prepared by Cantonese-descended cooks for whites incapable of grasping Chinese culinary principles. Mendelson then follows the...

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Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
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Food and the Chinese American Journey
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tableOfContents

Acknowledgments
A Note on Romanization and Terminology
Introduction
Prologue: A Stroke of the Pen
Part I
1. Origins: The Toisan–California Pipeline
2. The Culinary "Language" Barrier
3. "Celestials" on Gold Mountain
4. The Road to Chinatown
Part II
5. The Birth of Chinese American Cuisine
6. Change, Interchange, and the First Successful "Translators"
7. White America Rediscovers Chinese Cuisine
8. An Advancement of Learning
9. The First Age of Race-Blind Immigration
Postscript: What Might Have Been
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index