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Sep 9, 2008 01:47 PM

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

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!

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  1. Check There are a couple of possibilities.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pikawicca

      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!

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

      2 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        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

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

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

          6 Replies
          1. re: OCEllen

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

            1. re: ideabaker

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

              1. re: OCEllen

                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

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

            2. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  clamscasino, ha ha, yes; it would be hilarious if 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

                                    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

                                      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

                        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

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

                      4. 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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                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 rocks!