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Fu Pei-mei appeared on Taiwan television for 40 years. Her 1969 cookbook published with recipes in Mandarin and English is still considered a classic of Chinese cookery. Michelle T. King has a new book about the life and the persisting influence of Fu Pei-mei. It’s called “Chop Fry Watch Learn.” NPR host Scott Simon asked King, an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about how Fu Pei-mei become a kind of ambassador of Chinese cuisine — especially in the U.S., but also in Japan.

“She actually was fluent in Japanese because she grew up in Japanese-occupied China during World War II. … So her Japanese was entirely fluent. And in the late 1970s, early ’80s, she had a program on Japanese television teaching Japanese housewives how to cook Chinese food, and she narrated it entirely in Japanese. So she’s a pretty amazing woman”.