Lin gave US a true taste of Chi­nese

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OBITUARIES - EMILY LANGER

FLORENCE Lin had lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence as a cook when she ar­rived in the US in 1947 from her na­tive China, where her ex­ploits had in­cluded join­ing Chi­ang Kaishek’s na­tion­al­ist army in the strug­gle against Ja­panese in­vaders. She was a young wife and mother, mar­ried to a New York stock­bro­ker, and was hun­gry for the flavours of home.

Lin taught her­self the art of Chi­nese cook­ing, some­times with im­pro­vised tools and in­gre­di­ents – sauer­kraut in­stead of pick­led cab­bage, Tabasco sauce in place of chill­ies – and went on to play a sem­i­nal role in in­tro­duc­ing the cui­sine to Amer­i­cans as a cel­e­brated cook­book author and cook­ing in­struc­tor. She died on De­cem­ber 27 aged 97 at her home in Jamesville, New York. The cause was con­ges­tive heart fail­ure, said her daugh­ter Flora Lee.

By the time of her death, Lin was re­garded as a doyenne of Chi­nese cooks in the US – one who helped ex­pand the Amer­i­can palate be­yond chop suey and sweet-and-sour pork to in­clude the tastes and aro­mas of steamed bread, Pek­ing duck and fresh lo­tus root salad.

Though not the first to present her coun­try’s gen­uine flavours to Amer­i­cans, her legacy is vast.

Lin’s “recipes had a level of au­then­tic­ity, so­phis­ti­ca­tion and de­tail” not pre­vi­ously seen by Amer­i­can cooks, Grace Young, an au­thor­ity on Chi­nese cook­ing and the author of books in­clud­ing StirFry­ing to the Sky’s Edge, wrote in an e-mail. –The Washington Post

Florence Lin

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