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Michelle Tien King
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1350)
Chop Fry Watch Learn: How Taiwanese Chef Fu Pei-mei (1931-2004) Reinvented Chinese Cooking for a Television Generation

Research and writing for a cultural and social history of postwar Taiwan, told through the life of the cookbook author and television personality Fu Pei-mei (1931-2004).

Chop Fry Watch Learn is a cultural and social history of postwar Taiwan, told through the life and career of Fu Pei-mei (1931-2004), cookbook author and television personality, often called the “Julia Child of Chinese Cooking.” Fu authored dozens of cookbooks and appeared as an instructor on television for four decades, beginning in 1962. Women in her generation, which included both housewives and career women, turned to Fu because she taught them how to cook an astounding range of unfamiliar Chinese regional dishes on their television sets, in ways their own mothers and grandmothers never could. As her fame grew, Fu and her cookbooks traveled beyond the borders of Taiwan, teaching the rest of the world how to cook Chinese food. Fu’s story offers a way to examine a much more personal and intimate set of concerns about food, family, gender roles, and cultural identity. This is not a story of timeless tradition, but of modern transformation—of self and family, of cuisine and society.

Project fields:
East Asian History; Immigration History; Women's History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$57,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021