Lin gave US a true taste of Chinese
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