A Chinese-American cookbook author invents an explanation for the origin of chopsticks. Long ago, Compestine tells readers, when "all Chinese people ate with their hands," Keai (Quick), the youngest of three boys, was never fast enough to grab some nourishment before his brothers. In desperation born of hunger, he pulled two sticks from the kindling pile and used them to spear chunks of hot food. His family members immediately copied the tools and named them Keai zi (quick ones) after him. When they were invited to a wedding banquet, the brothers, wielding their sticks, gobbled up the delicious, festive dishes. The village children caught on quickly, but the elders had to consider whether using the new implements conflicted with established etiquette. An author's note offers facts about the history of chopsticks, explains how to hold them, describes good table manners in a Confucian context, and gives a simple recipe for one of the dishes served at the wedding feast. Xuan's handsome illustrations, boldly colored cut-paper designs recalling a traditional Chinese art, are abstract enough to suggest the "high and far-off times" of this modern pourquoi tale, yet lively enough to engage viewers. Unlike the spurious "Chop-Sticks," in Arthur B. Chrisman's Shen of the Sea (Dutton, 1968), this story is rooted in Chinese culture and offers American readers an authentic glimpse of its traditions.
Ying gives an overview of the book:
Award winning author and dynamic public speaker, Ying is the author of many children's books, cookbooks and a novel. Ying has been featured on many national television programs and she has been profiled in national magazines and newspapers.
Ying has visited schools...
As the associate food editor of Whole Living, you better believe that a lot of cookbook galleys cross my desk each week. Every so often there's one that truly embodies the spirit of food and...