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Chinese Culinary History: HOME

Resources for the study of Chinese culinary history, featuring the Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection, a special collection at Stony Brook University.



In 2002, Special Collections and University Archives at Stony Brook University was the proud recipient of the Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection, the largest cookbook collection of its kind. The collection includes: over 4,000 Chinese cookbooks, books on food Chinese food culture; medicine; and history; haute cuisine magazines; archival materials; and audio visual materials.

These materials provide a valuable record of the Chinese Diaspora that has carried its rich cuisine to every corner of the globe. Dr. Newman’s extensive annotated bibliography is now available online, thereby making it accessible worldwide.

LaChoy Chinese Recipes,
ca. 1920s.

Research Terms and Search Strategies

The following Library of Congress subject headings were utilized to produce this LibGuide.

  • foodways--China
  • food habits--China
  • cooking, Chinese--history
  • cooking, Chinese--social aspects
  • cooking, Chinese--Manchuria
  • cooking--China--Fujian Sheng
  • cooking, Chinese--health aspects--Congresses
  • tea--China--history
  • cooking, Asian--social aspects
  • cooking, Chinese--bibliography--catalogs
  • China--social life and customs
  • food supply--China
  • medicine, Chinese, traditional
  • food habits--China--early works to 1800
  • materia medica, vegetable--China--dictionaries
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • drugs, Chinese herbal
  • dinners and dining--China--history
  • plants, edible--China
  • mushrooms--China
  • wild plants, edible--China
  • wild foods--China
  • Chinese--foreign countries

Object for the Month of May 2014: Moon Cakes and Their Wooden Molds

"Moon Cakes and Their Wooden Molds,"
a collection of Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman,
is currently a featured display in the Charles B. Wang Center.  

Moon cake molds

According to Dr. Newman, "The Chinese adore and eat moon cake delicacies.
They consume them as a slice or a small wedge of one moon cake, and they enjoy them shared with family and friends during the important holiday they know as the Mid-Autumn Festival; Zhongquijie in Chinese. This event is one of their most important celebrations, second only to their New Year holiday that is also known as Spring Festival. Both of these festivals are Lunar calendar holidays."

Special Event: May 7, 2014

“The Chinese in the United States:
Their Early Cookbooks and Restaurants”
Lecture and Food Tasting with Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman

May 7 at 1 p.m. | Free and Open to All

chinese cookbook cover

Cookbooks are a treasured source of cultural information, history,
social relationships, and recipes. 

Acclaimed and award-winning food historian, scholar, and registered dietitianDr. Jacqueline Newman will discuss the very first Chinese sojourners to the United States and share fascinating tales of their early years on American soil. Dr. Newman will also highlight the first Chinese cookbooks published in the U.S., expound upon what and why Americans love Chinese cuisine, and advise as to where to find it locally. 

A food tasting will follow her presentation, featuring recipes from the Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection, part of Stony Brook University Libraries' Special Collections. Comprised of more than 4,000 rare and scarce English-language cookbooks and unique research materials, it is the world's largest collection of its type. Copies of the recipes will be available to guests.

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 7: presentation at 12:45 p.m;
reception to follow at 1:30 p.m. Tickets for the reception will be distributed upon arrival.

Location: Theater, Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University

For more information, contact or call 631.632.7119.

Past Events

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.
"Chinese Food and Herbs: Available, Fresh, Healthy, Natural, and Sustainable"

A lecture by Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman, with a food tasting to follow. This talk will explore the terms Available, Fresh, Healthy, Natural, and Sustainable and compare them to the health benefits of Chinese food, Chinese dishes, and Chinese herbs.

When you sit down for a meal at a chain restaurant, how can you tell if your food is healthy, natural, fresh, or sustainable? When chains make these claims about their products, are they really providing us with better options, or are they simply trying to capitalize on abstract concepts of “freshness” and “health,” while serving meals that are still highly processed? Acclaimed food scholar and researcher Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman argues that fast-food definitions of “fresh” and “healthy” are disingenuous and misleading. In this talk, Newman will explore uses of these terms, and will contrast Western fast food to the fascinating, nourishing, and time-tested traditional cuisine of China. Timely issues about health, economics, and the food industry will be addressed, and she will suggest how we can improve our diet  by relying on concepts – and recipes! – from Chinese culture.

Dr. Newman founded and is editor of the award-winning magazine Flavor and Fortune. It is the first and the only American English-language quarterly about Chinese food and Chinese dietary culture. Her devotion to research and promotion of this dietary culture is well-known world-wide and is the pursuit of a lifetime of efforts.

The Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection, more than 4,000 books and complementary research materials, is a special collection at Stony Brook University Libraries.

Co-sponsored by Special Collections of the University Libraries, the Charles B. Wang Center, and The Confucius Institute at Stony Brook University.

Free and open to all.

Wang Center, Lecture Hall 1
Nicolls Road
Main Entrance
Stony Brook, NY 11794
Phone: (631) 632-4400

Spring 2012 Special Event

On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Dr. Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman presented "CHINESE CUISINE: HISTORY, ART, AESTHETICS & CULINARY APPEAL."

The event was sponsored by
the Wang Center's Asian and Asian American Programs, University Libraries and the Confucius Institute.

Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman founded, and for nineteen years, has edited the award-winning magazine Flavor and Fortune. It is the first and the only American English-language quarterly about Chinese food and Chinese dietary culture. Dr. Newman's devotion to research and promotion of this dietary culture is well-known world-wide and is the pursuit of a lifetime of efforts. Her collection of over 3,000 books and complementary research materials is a  special collection at Stony Brook University Libraries.

View the event flyer here.

Department Head & Associate Librarian

Kristen J. Nyitray
Head, Special Collections & University Archives
University Archivist
Associate Librarian
Frank Melville, Jr. Memorial Library, E-2320
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3323
631.632.7119 (t)
631.632.1829 (f)
Website / Blog Page

Online Exhibit

View the covers of the books that were featured
in the 2008 exhibition
Take a Wok Through Chinese Culinary History.

Chinese-Japanese Cook Book
by Sara Bosse and
Onoto Watanna, 1914.

About this Guide

LibGuide by Lisa Patterson, Curriculum Librarian at St. Joseph's College (in fulfillment of an archival internship for the Palmer School of Library and Information Science, C.W. Post campus of Long Island University) and Kristen J. Nyitray, Head of Special Collections and University Archives/University Archivist.

Special Collections & University Archives at SBU

Special Collections and University Archives at Stony Brook University select, acquire, preserve and provide access to rare, valuable, and scarce primary and secondary materials  in a variety of formats in support of the educational and research endeavors of Stony Brook University's students, faculty, and staff. For more information about the collections, visit the department's website.