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Synopsis

When published in 1976, Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook was the first authentic Szechwan cookbook to appear in the United States.

The book was the result of Ellen and John Schrecker studying Chinese culture in Taiwan, during which they met Mrs. Chiang Jung-feng, a superb Chinese Szechwan cook. The tastes and textures of her dishes were always clear and bright. She was a master of the zhen wer or true taste; the result of continual care, attention to detail and practice. Subsequently, Mrs. Chiang came home with them to New Jersey.

Szechwan cooking is a highly spiced, yet subtle cuisine. Although the recipes in the book are considered peasant food — good hearty home cooking — even the poorest peasants eat extraordinary food, giving them the nickname of "good-eating devils."

The book contains Chiang Jung-feng's childhood memories of her mother's fragrant Szechwan kitchen that evoke the spirit as well as the taste of home cooking. Her mother was a superlative cook who understood very well that her daughter's fortune depended on her skill in the kitchen and taught her well. Their household raised most of their own food, butchered their own pigs, and made their own soy sauce and vinegar.

The book was written by Ellen Schrecker, the hundreds of recipes were by Chiang Jung-feng and tested in the Schrecker New Jersey kitchen, and translation was provided by John Schrecker.

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