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Stony Brook University

Chinese Culinary History

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





On September 24, SBU students, faculty, staff and neighbors gathered for a panel discussion on “Chinese and Diasporic Food, Identity, and Memory: A Panel Discussion.” The event was supported by the Jacqueline M. Newman Endowed Fund. Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman delivered opening remarks and SBU professors and scholars Timothy August (Department of English), Nerissa Balce (Department of Asian and Asian American Studies), Shirley Lim (Department of History), and E.K. Tan (Department of English) discussed food, memory, and identity in Chinese, diasporic, and colonial contexts. This special event highlighted the Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection, fostered an engaging dialogue on this under-documented topic, and celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival. Afterward, all were invited to sample a variety of mooncakes and view a display of mooncake molds, books, and artifacts from the Newman Collection. The program was organized and hosted by Stony Brook University Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, and the University Libraries’ Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee.

2018 (March 15 - June 15)

The Charles B. Wang Center exhibition Potasia: Potatoism in the East featured an insightful and entertaining survey of artworks with the potato as their central subject matter. The pieces showcased a wide spectrum of potatoes, in all manner of genres and situations—from the fantastical to the realistic, and from the comedic to the serious. The potato is not only a nutritious and earthy food but, as featured in these Asian artworks, it is also an egalitarian, versatile, multifaceted, multilingual, and multidisciplinary motif. A curated selection of books from Special Collections’ Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection, the largest collection of its type in the world was included in the exhibition.

On view: March 15 to June 15, 2018
Art Crawl: Wednesday, March 28 at 4:30pm
Opening reception: Wednesday, March 28 at 5pm
Charles B. Wang Center Skylight Gallery

Confucius: His Thoughts about Food
by Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 1pm
Charles B. Wang Center Theatre
Free Admission!

Though he taught over 2,000 years ago, Confucius (551 – 479 BCE) remains a major force in Chinese thinking: And his thoughts on cuisine just as potent. China’s most famous teacher, philosopher, and educator liked his rice polished and his meat cut properly and fine. He spoke about diet, food presentation, hygiene, integrity, heaven’s will, and the way things ought to be. Born in China’s State of Lu, we know about his culinary opinions thanks to Han Dynasty historian Sima Qian; The Analects compiled by his disciples centuries after his death; narrative of Zuozhuan from the 4th century CE; and the Mengzi compiled by Mencius. Nowadays, at Qufu in the Kong Mansion, they serve dinners in his memory. What are those dinners and would he indulge in them?

This lecture discusses his life, his thoughts about food, and the memorable meals served at the Kong Mansion. After the lecture related dishes will be tasted. Co-sponsored by Special Collections of the University Libraries, The Confucius institute and the Charles B. Wang Center.

“The Chinese in the United States:
Their Early Cookbooks and Restaurants”
Lecture and Food Tasting with Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman
May 7. 2014 at 1 p.m. | Free and Open to All
View photographs from the event.

Food and China's Silk Road: Influences to and from the West
by Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman 
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 1 PM
Charles B. Wang Center Theatre

“Food and China's Silk Road: Influences to and from the West,” a sold-out event co-sponsored by the University Libraries, was held on May 6, 2015, in the Charles B. Wang Center. An engaged and enthused audience of students, faculty/staff, and community members gathered for a spirited lecture by historian Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman and a food tasting. Guests learned about the East-West cultural exchanges that occurred on the Silk Road through the medium of food, and sampled dishes prepared from recipes selected by Dr. Newman. This year marked the tenth anniversary of the annual cultural event, which was co-sponsored by Special Collections of the University Libraries, The Confucius Institute and Charles B. Wang Center Cultural Programs.

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

Acclaimed and award-winning food historian, scholar, and registered dietitian Dr. 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.

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.


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.

"Cooking from China’s Fujian Province" special lecture featuring food historian and scholar Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman. Reception follows with Fujianese food tasting. 
Fujian, a province in southeastern China, boasts a distinct culinary tradition that enjoys a thousand year old recorded history but is barely known in the Western world. Dr. Newman's latest book includes fascinating cultural and historical notes and features a collection of 200 easy to follow, authentic recipes that provide the perfect introduction to this unique cuisine. “Through her insightful writing and well-researched recipes, Ms. Newman is casting much-deserved light on the wonderful Fujian cooking and culture. Her scholarly approach and keen eye for detail make this book a joy to read and a real keeper for any library and kitchen.” -- Martin Yan, cookbook author and chef of TV cookery programs

Watch this Event
"A Wok Through Chinese Culinary History: View Selections from the World's Largest English-Language Chinese Cookbook Collection"
Savor and digest the history of Chinese cuisine at a dramatic new exhibition of the Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection. Stony Brook University's collection includes more than 3,000 cookbooks - from the oldest to the smallest to the longest, and everything in between - as well as many other fascinating culinary items. Don't miss this one-of-a-kind visual banquet for everyone interested in one of the world's greatest civilizations.

Special Reception
Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 5 p.m.
FREE and Open to the Public
To R.S.V.P., please call (631) 632-6320

Exhibit runs Monday, April 28 - Friday, May 30
Charles B. Wang Center, Main Lobby
Stony Brook University 

Watch this Event
WEDNESDAY, May 2 at 12:45 p.m. - Wang Center, Lecture Hall 1 
Chinese Food Can Be Good for Your Health!
Lecture featuring Dr. Jacqueline Newman
Chinese food is a favorite cuisine; but is it healthy? Recent reports have questioned the nutritional content of some appetizers and entrees served at Chinese restaurants. However, when prepared in an authentic way, this cuisine is one of the world’s most nutritious; it is ideal for your health and well being. Food historian, scholar, and registered dietitian Jacqueline M. Newman will discuss the use of herbs and other fresh ingredients in the Chinese diet. She will explain how to order and prepare Chinese food that is healthful and why the Chinese see no differences between food and medicine. The food tasting that follows her talk will illustrate these concepts and feature recipes from the Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection, a part of the University Libraries' Special Collections at Stony Brook. Free to all. 
Sponsors: University Libraries and Charles B. Wang Asian American Center

Watch this Event
The Chinese Philosophy of Feasting 
Date: Wednesday, April 5 at 12:40 p.m.
Location: Charles B. Wang Center, Lecture Hall 1
Program: Customs and beliefs of what to eat and how to eat are as vital to the Chinese as are notions of food, health, and satiation. Chinese food historian Jacqueline M. Newman will tease out the tastes, cultural significance, social meaning, and types of food prepared for lavish banquets, festivals, and even simple eating encounters. Tantalizing selections from the recipes in the University Libraries' Chinese Cookbook Collection, donated by Dr. Newman, will be served during a reception following the lecture. Free to all. 
Sponsors: Charles B. Wang Center and the University Libraries

Watch  this Event
"Cookbooks: A Cultural Banquet."
Date: Tuesday, April 19 at 12:30 p.m. 
Location: Charles B. Wang Center, Lecture Hall 1
Program: "Cookbooks: A Cultural Banquet." Cookbooks are a treasure trove of cultural information, history and social relationships, as well as delicious and useful recipes. Chinese cuisine scholar Jacqueline Newman will expound on the socio-cultural wealth of Chinese cookbooks, while Bonnie Slotnik, owner of a Greenwich Village shop specializing in out-of-print cookbooks, will give a broad overview of American baking as seen through these books. Katheryn Twiss of Stony Brook University’s Department of Anthropology will place the phenomenon of cookbooks in socio-historical context. You will also sample creations from the recipes of the Jackie Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection. Free to all. 
Sponsors: Charles B. Wang Center and the Department of Special Collections, University Libraries.