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Does anyone know the title of the old Yellow Chinese Cookbook?

ideabaker Sep 9, 2008 01:47 PM

Hi everyone... I used to have a great Chinese Cookbook called something like "1,000 Chinese Recipes" or something... it was printed around the seventies or eighties I think, and was about two and a half inches thick.

The cover is yellow. The recipes label each ingredient with either letters or numbers. Then directions for each recipe refer to the letters/numbers; i.e. "mix a. with c., blend in d."

The entire book is in black and white, all text and no pictures.

I love this cookbook, lost it during a move, and am trying to find it again (maybe online).

Am hoping that someone has this great cookbook and might be able to provide the title.

Thanks in advance for your help!

  1. NE_Wombat Jan 5, 2012 05:06 PM

    I also have a copy of the 1970 edition The only negative I have with this well used edition is that the binding is (was) weak. It's been cracked/split since I bought it with next to no other signs of use in the mid-1970s. Split/detached from the inside - not through the outside. Mine's the black board with green cloth spine edition. Over the years, I've found the index rather unique, and frequently useful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NE_Wombat
      ellabee Jan 5, 2012 10:58 PM

      I'd like to appeal to any chowhounds who own this book and are members of Eat Your Books to include the book in your EYB bookshelf and to request that EYB index it. It's not on enough bookshelves yet to rise to the top of the indexing queue, and contains way too many recipes for any volunteer/member indexer to take it on.

      Right now, more than 80 percent of the cookbooks on the actual physical shelves at my house are indexed, and this is at the top of my wishlist of the remaining ones. Thanks in advance for your help.

      This is the book from which I learned what little I know of Chinese cooking. My mother bought it in the 1970s (during the Chinese-cooking phase that closely followed her French-cooking phase) and I remember reading it and cooking from it when I was home for visits. Chang's discussion of stir frying was a huge help to understanding the principles involved, so that it was easier to improvise. It was fairly easy to get used to the ABC directions, which can't be beat for space efficiency. It's in harmony with the fuel efficiency of wok cooking... <g>

    2. b
      Barbarainnc Jan 5, 2012 04:54 PM

      I have this book!!!! 1970 edition.

      Another great book is "Potsticker Chronicles" by Stuart Chang Berman. He is a chef and restaurant owner. Many are restuarant recipes, the real deal. If I could buy only one book this one is it!!!! :) :) :) :) Buy it!!!!!

      1. The Dairy Queen Feb 7, 2011 08:11 AM

        link to comments about a recipe clamscasino tried from this book:



        1 Reply
        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          smilingal Feb 7, 2011 10:52 AM

          TDQ - thanks so much - YOU ARE GREAT at cross-referencing! Good job! lol

        2. l
          Lotti Jan 20, 2011 05:38 PM

          I also own the "An Encyclopedia of Chinese Food and Cooking" and I think it was one of the first cookbooks I bought many years ago. I have looked through it many times over the years but never really cooked from it. The recipe format never really impressed me as being something for inexperienced cooks in Chinese cooking. I wonder if there is a basic knowledge needed, and not offered in this cookbook, to make the recipes turn out as wonderfully as some posters say. There seems to be very little detail - something I feel much more comfortable with from a cookbook is lots and lots of detail.

          I would really like to hear more from the people who cook from and like this cookbook. What are more of the recipes you really like, and what do you do when cooking them that is not mentioned in the recipes in the book? Are there any tips you can give a relative novice in authentic Chinese cooking? I love Chinese food - the real kind, and because I am unable to get out to my favourite Chinese restaurants as often as I would like, I would really like to prepare GOOD food at home.

          Or, do I just need to be more brave, and go for it? Standing is an issue due to health problelms, so doing a lot of chopping and prep. work is not something to be taken lightly for me - which is may explain my reluctance to "just do it" without being sure the results will be worth the effort.

          1. Eric in NJ Oct 28, 2010 09:45 AM

            I remember having one by Craig Claiborn (sp) from that time period that was yellow, and thick. an't recall the title though.

            1. s
              smilingal Oct 28, 2010 09:22 AM

              TDQ - I know this is an old post - but I am wondering if you were pleased with the purchase of this book - and what have you made that you'd recommend?? Thanks!

              2 Replies
              1. re: smilingal
                The Dairy Queen Oct 28, 2010 09:38 AM

                Smilinggal, I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't cooked anything from it. (I have a number of cookbooks I haven't cook from yet, alas.) But, I think it's a very unique book and even though I've done some culling of cookbooks lately, I'm hanging on to it. And, now that you've bumped this thread, maybe I will try to cook from it! If I do, I will report back.

                But, notice ideabaker recommends the shrimp and water chestnut dumplings and the delicate noodles and sauces...so, that's where I would start!


                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  smilingal Oct 28, 2010 10:43 AM

                  yes - the shrimp dumplings and scallion pancakes which were recommended by Paulj on the newest thread about the book are the only two that I have on the short list. oh well - I am hoping the list continues to grow but as I said on the other thread - it is funny that we have this book - some of us for 25-30+ years and it has been rarely, if ever, used!

              2. The Dairy Queen Sep 20, 2008 07:52 PM

                My copy has arrived. Woo hoo! What a funny old book. I can't wait to try a few recipes out of it.


                1 Reply
                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  ideabaker Oct 21, 2008 05:43 AM

                  Dairy Queen, so glad you now own it... it is a bit quirky but nothing I've cooked out of it has been anything short of absolutely delicious. I recall the shrimp and water chestnut dumplings as being labor intensive but in the end, they were the best I'd had up until that point- and fit for a "Queen" (pun intended). Enjoy!

                2. j
                  Jane917 Sep 13, 2008 10:51 AM

                  Your request made me dig out one of my old favorites,but it was published in 1983, so isn't old enough. The name is Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su-Huei. It has gorgeous pictures, and the ingredients are presented as 1 2 3 instead of abc. Browsing through the book, I think I will have to make the Salty and Crispy Shrimp tonight.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Jane917
                    ideabaker Sep 14, 2008 01:05 PM

                    Jane, that recipe sounds scrumptious! Now I think I have to find the book you have!

                    I was in a discussion about the older Chinese cookbooks with friends and they suggested that Chinese cooking isn't as "exotic" as it was [in America] in the seventies to eighties (because Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese later came into vogue). I wonder if there is any weight to that thought. I visited two libraries looking for the big old yellow cookbook and the Chinese cookbook sections in both libraries were surprisingly small.

                    1. re: ideabaker
                      Jane917 Sep 14, 2008 01:34 PM

                      The Salty and Crispy Shrimp was very good AND very easy. The cookbook is pare of Wei-Chuans Cookbook series. I also have Chinese Cooking Made Easy from the same series. Thank you for making me dig out some of these cookbooks I have not used in ages. I also re-discovered my Madame Wong's Long-Life (and More Long-Life) Cookbooks. No pictures, just text, nothing fancy, but good recipes.

                  2. r
                    rockycat Sep 11, 2008 07:25 PM

                    This is the first Chinese cookbook I bought and one of the first cookbooks I ever bought when I was a teenager. I haven't used it in ages mostly because I find the ABC style off-putting. However, since I've recently been cooking more Chinese at home, it sounds like it's time to dust it off again. Thanks everyone for reminding me how great that book is.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rockycat
                      ideabaker Sep 12, 2008 08:05 AM

                      Yes the ABC style is a bit odd, though when I first bought the book at a garage sale twenty years ago, it was the unique layout that intrigued me. Then after cooking from it with super tasting results, it became a favorite cookbook, and certainly my favorite Chinese cookbook. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone else cooks from the book too!

                    2. The Professor Sep 11, 2008 06:18 PM

                      "An Encyclopedia of Chinese Food and Cooking" by Chang and Kutscher published in 1970 by Crown....
                      What a great book. This has been in my library since it was published and I consider this one indispensable.
                      My two other favorites: HOW TO COOK AND EAT IN CHINESE by Buwei Yang Chao (real home style traditional Chinese cooking) and CHINESE COOKING FOR TWO by Nancy Chih Ma. I think I've referred to these three books more than any others in my library, except maybe for the early 70's version of JOY.
                      Get a copy of the encyclopaedic big yellow, absolutely...but do check out these other two as well.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: The Professor
                        ideabaker Sep 12, 2008 08:06 AM

                        Thanks Professor, I will look for those other two books as well. Are they older books? Do they have pictures?

                        1. re: ideabaker
                          The Professor Sep 12, 2008 05:02 PM

                          Yes, both are older books. HOW TO COOK AND EAT IN CHINESE is not illustrated, but it's a great read. CHINESE COOKING FOR TWO is illustrated mosly in black and white with some color photos,,,but the recipes are authentic and great.

                          1. re: The Professor
                            ideabaker Sep 12, 2008 05:52 PM

                            Professor, thanks! Just snagged the How to Cook and Eat in Chinese online, but could not find a book with the title Chinese Cooking for Two. Do you happen to have the authors of that book (the "For Two" book), and the copyright year? (The "How to Cook and Eat in Chinese" was in several copyright years, so I just got the oldest (1963) one. Though I do worry that the one published in the seventies might have improvements... it is written by someone with the same family name as the original writers, so maybe it was continued and improved upon by the children? Anyway you have me very interested in the "For Two" book, but I don't see it, at least on Amazon.com.

                            1. re: ideabaker
                              The Professor Sep 12, 2008 08:46 PM

                              CHINESE COOKING FOR TWO by Nancy Chih Ma first published in the USA in 1980 by Barron's. (it's Originally a Japanese publication from 1972)
                              I'll keep my eyes open for used copies...

                              1. re: The Professor
                                ideabaker Sep 13, 2008 07:25 AM

                                Thanks for that title... I could only find a copy from 1990, perhaps it is a reprint? Same title and author, and less than three bucks so I ordered it and will give some recipes a whirl. I usually cook just for myself or for dinner parties of about six people, so the "For Two" part got me excited (enough for dinner and leftovers!). Hope it is the right one, can you recommend favorite recipes from either of the two books you suggested?

                      2. The Dairy Queen Sep 11, 2008 07:17 AM

                        ideabaker, I've been following this thread with great interest (and was silently cheering our fellow home cooking 'hounds on as they were working hard to help you zero in on the right book) because I think that's it's an amazing example of the power of the internet, in general, and the chowhound community in particular. First, that you could tap into a community of people who could help you identify your lost treasure of a book and second, that you were able to acquire a copy of this out of print book online. I don't know how you would have solved either of these two problems 25 years ago without a lot of luck and phone calls.

                        Anyway, um, I'm a cookbook addict, so, now I'm absolutely intrigued. Can you please talk a little more about the a, b, c recipe style works for you? It's seems very confusing to me. Is it something you just get used to? Or just live with because the outcome is always so great? Also, according to the Amazon reviews (just 4, but that's quite a lot, I think, for an out of print book), this is a well-loved book. People mention that it's very helpful with the pronunciation--I was curious if that's helped you find incredients more easily.

                        Finally, I would love to hear more about which recipes you really love. Amazon seems to have 96 copies of a more recent edition of the book. In my experience, a lot of sellers of used books on Amazon aren't careful about ensuring the edition they offer for sale is the same as the listing. My guess is some of those are the older edition of the book. I think I might have to have one! For 39 cents (plus shipping of course) how can you go wrong?


                        8 Replies
                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                          clamscasino Sep 11, 2008 08:06 AM

                          I'm not sure that there are actually different "editions" of this book. My copy says that the copywrite date is 1970 and further that the fourth printing was 1977. I would have to look on Amazon myself to see....

                          But anyway, to address your question about the A B C recipe format: I think it is brilliant but possibly so unique that no one could legally adopt it for use in another cookbook. It really organizes the recipes very succinctly. Goes like this:

                          (For that Shrimp with water chestnuts)

                          A. 1/2 lb. fozen shrimp, chopped
                          B. 1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
                          C. 1 tablespoon chopped scallion
                          D. 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
                          E. etc, etc, etc

                          Then there is the "Preparation: which goes like this:

                          I. Mix A, B, C, D, E, F, G thoroughly.
                          II. Fill center of each H with 1 teaspoon A-G mixture.
                          III . By now you must get the picture - my oil bill budget has trumped my legal one, so I'll stop now.

                          While I haven't really used this book too much, I have had a lot of fun playing around with the egg roll recipes. They are soooo good homemade.....

                          One difficulty with this book is that because it was published before 1978, the translation/spelling of the dish names is in "Pidgin." Therefore it can be a bit hard to match up a recipe with what you had for dinner last week at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Perhaps later editions (if there actually are ones) have corrected this problem.

                          1. re: clamscasino
                            The Dairy Queen Sep 11, 2008 08:42 AM

                            Very interesting. Though perhaps confusing (at least until you get the hang of it), I'll bet this is a very efficient/space-saving way of presenting a recipe and, therefore, enables room for even more recipes.

                            I'll have to have a peek at the various eggroll variations! Any other favorites you recommend?


                            1. re: clamscasino
                              chazzerking Sep 11, 2008 01:36 PM

                              I'm now going to have to find a copy of this book. Heretofore, my favorite chinese cookbook(s) have been the Pei Mei's Chinese Cooking, Vols I-III. It is mostly clear and concise, although there are one or two translation kerfuffles that are first humorous, then confounding. But those are few and far betweeen, and it has an encyclopedic breadth of regional chinese recipes in both chinese and english, together with color photos so you can see what it's supposed to look like when done. I have no idea whethere it's sttill being published. I got mine in about 72 when I lived a few blocks from Chinatown near City Hall in NY. It's stained, dog-eared and generally a mess, but still serves its purpose.

                              1. re: chazzerking
                                paulj Sep 11, 2008 02:43 PM

                                This Encyclopedia isn't the best for technique, but how many books give you nine recipes for sea cucumber? 17 different 'red cooked' dishes? 13 congee. Some recipes are just variations on a base. For example 'stir-fried beef with sauce' is followed by ones that just add black mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, bean sprouts, mustard grees, snow peas, green peas, cauliflower, oyster sauce, onions, or bamboos shoots.

                                1. re: chazzerking
                                  ideabaker Sep 11, 2008 02:57 PM

                                  I just love Chowhound and have since I joined years ago (got my username bumped after being inactive for a couple of years, but then got it back again). The book I have is awesome, now you have me interested in the one you talk about, Chazzerking. I like pics of what the recipe is supposed to look like, the beauty of the yellow book is that even with no pics, the food comes out terrific. Will check your book(s?) out as well. Thank you for your response, it is intriguing.

                                  1. re: ideabaker
                                    chazzerking Sep 12, 2008 02:22 PM

                                    There are a few used copies of each volume that show on Amazon. No new ones, though, so it's probably out of print.

                                    1. re: chazzerking
                                      ideabaker Sep 12, 2008 05:55 PM

                                      Yes, chazzerking, I do believe it is out of print. But somewhere, someone has it, and perhaps couldn't get over the unique recipe format, so wanted to get rid of it. One man's trash and all... surely many more copies of the book will pop up from time to time again. And if you see the book, love to cook, and appreciate delicious food, grab it! :-) I will be reporting here when I try recipes from it, with a full review.

                              2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                ideabaker Sep 11, 2008 12:47 PM

                                Dairy Queen; if you can find this book for a buck go for it! The recipe style is very mathematical and you just have to get used to it. The best part is the flavor you get at the end of cooking. You won't be sorry.

                                Clamscasino gave the best description of the recipe style I have seen. Very logical. Very delicious. I would look for the 1970 version of the book only because that's what I had and resulted in exquisitely tasting foods. When I get the book again I will post my (up til now) favorite recipes. Right now those shrimp and waterchestnut dumplings stand out in my memory.

                                You are right, only in the internet age could this puzzle have been solved so quickly. Chowhound (and Amazon.com) rocks!

                              3. paulj Sep 9, 2008 02:12 PM

                                I have a 1970 Crown book that fits this description, yellow slip cover, though the binding is red and black, about 500 pages.

                                An Encyclopedia of Chinese food and cooking, 1000 recipes adapted to the American Kitchen.

                                by Wonona W, and Irving B Chang, Helene W and Austin H Kutscher.

                                It is unillustrated except for some BW pictures of ingredients. The recipe style is unusual and condensed:
                                A. 1 lb spareribs
                                B. 3 slices ginger
                                C. 10 dried shrimp
                                I. Cut A ...
                                II. Soak C. ...
                                2. Add A, B, C, D, etc

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: paulj
                                  clamscasino Sep 10, 2008 12:28 PM

                                  I gotta agree with paulj that it is the Chang's and Kutscher's Encyclopedia. The key is the way the recipes are laid out. Tried taking pictures...please excuse my toes.

                                  1. re: clamscasino
                                    ideabaker Sep 10, 2008 03:55 PM

                                    Oh clamscasino, yes, I do think this is definitely the book, thank you for the photos. I am going online now to look for it. A friend also had it but lost it so we will both be overjoyed to get it again. I made the steamed shrimp and waterchestnut dumplings (incredible) among other things from this classic and wonderful cookbook. Looking forward to making more! Again, thank you for the pics, they really helped. :-)

                                    1. re: ideabaker
                                      clamscasino Sep 11, 2008 05:58 AM

                                      You are very welcome. And I am looking forward to making those dumplings. I haven't tried too many recipes in this book, despite its tattered appearance, so any other favorite recipe suggestions would be appreciated greatly.

                                      1. re: clamscasino
                                        ideabaker Sep 11, 2008 06:31 AM

                                        You will LOVE yourself when you make those shrimp and waterchestnut dumplings. They take some time to make but nothing from a restaurant tastes better.

                                        It is the delicate noodles and sauces that are especially wonderful. Hey, the book is 38 years old and withstands the tests of time.

                                        When I get the book in my hands again (Why is Amazon taking so long, it's been twenty two hours :-) ) I will look again for other things I made from it. My friend said he made a spare rib sauce from the book that was to die for. I can't thank you enough for bringing this book back into my life!

                                        1. re: ideabaker
                                          chef chicklet Sep 11, 2008 12:59 PM

                                          ideabaker, so glad you started this, I've seen that book at my library before. I am so anxious to search for it now. I love best, the old recieps. And I want to Thank You for starting this search!!!

                                          1. re: chef chicklet
                                            ideabaker Sep 11, 2008 02:52 PM

                                            chef chicklet, thank you for thanking me. I am still full of excitement to find "the" Chinese Cookbook and it is so worth whatever you pay for it. Get the book and let me know what you make from it!

                                            1. re: chef chicklet
                                              TongoRad Sep 11, 2008 03:14 PM

                                              Yeah- I'm glad you started this as well. I just blew the dust off of my copy (obviously it hasn't been touched in years) and am looking at the recipe for Ma Po Dow Fu (page 433). I think I'll give it a shot this weekend, and then, who knows...

                                              1. re: TongoRad
                                                ideabaker Sep 11, 2008 03:21 PM

                                                Ha ha, isn't it wonderful to re-explore a beautiful thing? 38 years old, a classic and I can't wait to read what owners of the book made and how they came out. Sadly I am still awaiting my used copy. I will salivate in anticipation until it comes :-). Please let me know if you make the Ma Po Dow Fu...

                                                1. re: TongoRad
                                                  clamscasino Sep 11, 2008 04:07 PM

                                                  That is so funny. I just did the same thing...went searching for a recipe for Ma Po Dow Fu. Along the way I found some things I definately want to try. Anyone know of good fish substitutes for sea bass?

                                                  Wouldn't it be funny if amazon sold out all their copies to chowhounders over-nite?

                                                  1. re: clamscasino
                                                    ideabaker Sep 11, 2008 04:11 PM

                                                    clamscasino, ha ha, yes; it would be hilarious if Amazon.com sold out all the copies to us... who deserve the book :-). It is a crazy configuration for the layout of recipes but it works. And the recipes work. Delicious. Thank you for your help in locating this little treasure.

                                                    1. re: ideabaker
                                                      clamscasino Sep 11, 2008 05:15 PM

                                                      I just can't wait for you to get your copy and start cooking. I've been perusing mine in anticipation. How long ago did you lose it anyway?

                                                      1. re: clamscasino
                                                        ideabaker Sep 12, 2008 08:03 AM

                                                        All my cookbooks got put into storage during a move about six months ago. (That's about a hundred and fifty cookbooks). My friends packed it up along with my whole household while I was away on business (long story). Since the boxes aren't labeled I don't know where to begin looking for it, and I travel so much I don't have time to open up all those boxes. Finally broke down and decided to just rebuy the book because I've got a craving for delicious home cooked Chinese, and it is my favorite cookbook. I hope they deliver the book soon, as I'm sure the postman will quickly tire of me tackling him at the front door...

                                        2. re: clamscasino
                                          ideabaker Sep 11, 2008 03:49 AM

                                          p.s. your photos were key in locating the book, and your toes add a special touch of cuteness to the photo :-). Again, thank you!

                                        3. re: paulj
                                          ideabaker Sep 10, 2008 03:51 PM

                                          paulj, that sounds like the exact book! Thank you!

                                        4. OCEllen Sep 9, 2008 02:12 PM

                                          "An Encyclopedia of Chinese Food and Cooking" by Chang and Kutscher published in 1970 by Crown.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: OCEllen
                                            ideabaker Sep 10, 2008 04:05 PM

                                            I am so happy to find this book again. Amazon.com had two copies, both of which I bought (sorry, sure they will get more). I love Chowhound.com and the wonderful and helpful Chowhounders here!

                                            1. re: ideabaker
                                              OCEllen Sep 10, 2008 05:14 PM

                                              I find that Barnes & Noble is also a great resource for used books!

                                              1. re: OCEllen
                                                ideabaker Sep 11, 2008 03:52 AM

                                                Thanks OCEllen, after a night of celebrating finding the book, I was feeling a bit jerkish for buying both, but my friend also lost his so the other is a gift. If anyone doesn't have that book and loves cooking excellent Chinese food, it is worth buying it used. Thanks to everyone for help with this!

                                                1. re: OCEllen
                                                  eLizard Sep 11, 2008 07:02 AM

                                                  Barnes & Noble has the book for $1.99 used....

                                                  1. re: eLizard
                                                    OCEllen Sep 11, 2008 02:09 PM

                                                    Another good place to find used books is:


                                                    1. re: OCEllen
                                                      alkapal Sep 19, 2008 07:45 AM

                                                      so is abebooks.com

                                            2. JoanN Sep 9, 2008 01:58 PM

                                              That sounds like “The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook” by Gloria Bley Miller. Is this it?


                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: JoanN
                                                The Old Gal Sep 10, 2008 10:00 AM

                                                I think Joan may be right. It is certainly the definitive reference in my library which contains 12 other Chinese cookbooks. She is the reference, the other have recipes.
                                                Last knew it was out in trade paperback so I am sure you can find a copy

                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                  ideabaker Sep 10, 2008 04:04 PM

                                                  That doesn't look familiar to me at all... maybe it is the paperback version of the one I had?

                                                2. pikawicca Sep 9, 2008 01:58 PM

                                                  Check Amazon.com. There are a couple of possibilities.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: pikawicca
                                                    ideabaker Sep 9, 2008 01:59 PM

                                                    It is a very old book and I don't know the title so have had little luck looking it up online... thanks for your response!

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