My mother learned to cook Chinese food while living in Japan. It was sort of a roundabout way of doing things, but that was mom. My parents were living in Japan when mom decided to take up cooking, she asked about the best places to learn and was told about a cooking school run by Benedictine Sisters from Peking.
The sisters, originally from the States, went to China a missionaries. As their cook, Ta Shih Fu, would prepare their meals they watched everything he did stopping him sometimes in mid-swing to measure exactly how much of the ingredients he was putting into the meals. War and Communism came to China, and the American Consult feared it was too dangerous, so the sisters were moved to Japan. They arrived with nothing, except what they had learned from Ta Shih Fu. To earn their living they started to teach the Chinese recipes they had learned, and won fame in the city of Tokyo.
Mom loved to tell that story in a sort of “look how good you have it” way…which worked, actually. I might have to tell my own boys that story. My brother found an out of print copy of the cookbook mom used and gave it to me as a gift. I’ve spent plenty of time recreating the Chinese meals my mom made in Japan into Paleo meals my family can enjoy today. I’ll only share the successes with you.
Recipe by Kristin Clara