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Chop, Fry, Watch, Learn: Fu Pei-mei and the Making of Modern Chinese Food

Speaker

Michelle T. King (History, UNC–Chapel Hill)

Fu Pei-mei was a pioneering postwar television cooking instructor and cookbook author from Taiwan, dubbed as the "Julia Child of Chinese cooking." She appeared on Taiwan Television for forty years, starting with the debut of the medium in 1962. She also authored several best-selling bilingual Chinese-English cookbooks, which appealed to domestic audiences of housewives in Taiwan, as well as overseas Chinese and foreign students around the world, eager to learn how to cook Chinese food.

This talk will focus on Fu's bilingual cookbooks, reflecting on the act of translation as well as the potential and limits of food in speaking across cultural divides.

About the speaker

Michelle T. King is an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in modern Chinese gender and food history. She is the author of Chop Fry Watch Learn: Fu Pei-mei and the Making of Modern Chinese Food (W. W. Norton, forthcoming), and Between Birth and Death: Female Infanticide in Nineteenth-Century China (Stanford University Press, 2014).

She is co-editor of Modern Chinese Foodways (MIT Press, forthcoming), and editor of Culinary Nationalism in Asia (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019). A 2020–21 National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar, she lives in Chapel Hill with her family.

This event was organized by the East Asian and Diaspora Studies graduate working group at Duke with support from APSI and is part of a mini-series on "Diasporic Chinese Foodways."