Shanghai: Presbyterian Mission Press, 1924. First Thus. Original quarter cloth over pictorially illustrated paper boards. Rubbing and general wear to the extremities and rear board, leaving the illustrations on the front board intact. Contemporary ownership signature of "E. C. Lechler C.M.S. Mienchu China" to the header of the title page. Later bookseller's ticket to rear pastedown. Internally overall a tight and clean copy without the usual staining found in culinary books; the present copy does have occasional signs of use in pencil, usually lightly correcting or annotating text. An enlargement and revision of The American Red Cross Book of Recipes from 1918, this new edition reflects a growing need for nutritious recipes and supply chain substitutions following wartime. The sole copy on the market, OCLC reports only 7 copies in the US and 11 worldwide.
In their preface to this new cookery, the committee for the Women's Auxiliary explains in clear terms what sets their cookery apart. "This book was definitely war product. It was prepared with two ideas in view: that of utilizing local products as substitutes for the home imported foodstuffs, and, secondly, that of reducing the cost of living. It was different from all other cook books that had been published in China for foreigners' use in that it dealt only with native products and recipes that could be made from them...The original edition of the book was quickly exhausted. The frequent and insistent demands coming for it have led the Women's Auxiliary to bring out...this enlarged edition...New tested recipes have been added in every chapter making over 500 recipes in the present book." Among the new additions are information on Vitamins, Pure Drinking Water, and Vegetables. While some recipes are titles in English only, the compilers included Cantonese translations wherever possible, in addition to including a glossary at the rear called Hints for the Housekeeper, which provide translations and pronunciations for Cantonese words related to food and household cleaning products. Following WWI, Shanghai had become a space of rich and problematic interactions between cultures. Its reputation as the "Paris of the East" drove in American and British tourists while large residential areas were being built in the north due to war concessions. Opium smuggling, prostitution, and a spreading wealth gap caused friction. The Women's Auxiliary, composed of intelligent and educated members with a cultural appreciation for these fluctuations as well as for the culture into which they had migrated sought to use the kitchen as a positive space for the exchange of food, language, and ideas. (Item #2891)