Shanghai: Presbyterian Mission Press, 1918. First edition. Quarter cloth over pictorial drab boards. Early ownership signature to upper front board, and some faint soiling mostly to spine and edges. Textblock firm and square, measuring 210 x 130mm. Internally a surprisingly fresh copy, collating complete with adverts to front and rear: , 138, . Introducing a range of "native products" to Americans living in the region, the cookery reflects a growing need for nutritious recipes and supply chain substitutions in wartime. The sole copy on the market, OCLC reports only 7 copies.
The only Chinese-published cookbook "to deal only with native products and recipes that could be made from them." 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." 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 as well as a List of Terms Necessary in Food Preparation, which both provide translations and pronunciations for Cantonese words related to food and household cleaning products. During and after WWI, Shanghai had become a space of rich and problematic interactions between cultures. In addition to rising Western military forces, its reputation as the "Paris of the East" drove in American and British tourists while, later, 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. Near Fine (Item #4224)