International Women's Day: Remembering Buwei Yang Chao
This International Women’s Day we wanted to honour a pioneer who forever changed the face of food in the west.
She introduced a generation to a culture, a way of cooking and her own personal story.
Not Julia Child, Fanny Cradock or Delia Smith.
In fact Delia Smith wasn’t even born yet when this woman was introducing America to a cuisine that would become one of the most successful imports of the last century.
We are talking about the legendary Buwei Yang Chao.
Coming to America
When the American writer Pearl Buck wrote the preface for Buwei’s book ‘How to Cook and Eat in Chinese’ she proclaimed that the chef deserved the Nobel Peace Prize, stating:
“For what better road to universal peace is there than to gather around the table where new and delicious dishes are set forth, dishes which, though yet untasted by us, we are destined to enjoy and love?”
This reaction is particularly heartfelt viewed in the context of when the book was published.
Released in 1945, ‘How to Cook and Eat in Chinese’ was a labour of love brought about with as much care taken over the English translation as there was over the authenticity of the Chinese dishes.
At a time when racism and mistrust towards immigrants in the US was at fever pitch, Buwei’s cookbook was a statement of openness and generosity.
She saw food as the perfect way of bridging the cultural divide between the mixing cultures of East and West, and as the years went by, her book would come to represent so much more than just recipes.