Presents an eight-course banquet of ghost stories centering around Chinese cooking and culture. Each story is followed by a recipe and historical notes.
A is for Acrobats. B is for Balls. C is for Calligraphy. D is for Dragon Dance. From firecrackers to noodles, from red envelopes to the zodiac, young readers are introduced to the exciting traditions of the Chinese New Year.
A stingy fisherman always makes his three young helpers do all his work. One day he scolds the "lazy boys" for forgetting to provide lunch. "Don't worry," they say. "We can make stone soup." The boys dig a hole and fill it with water and "flavored" stones. They trick the fisherman into making bowls and chopsticks, and fetching salt and sesame oil. While he's busy, they stir in bird eggs, add wild vegetables, and slip fish into the soup. By the time the old man returns, they have a feast fit for a king. To this day, "Egg Drop Stone Soup" is a traditional dish in southeast China. A recipe is included.
Starting in 1972 when she is nine years old, Ling, the daughter of two doctors, struggles to make sense of the communists' Cultural Revolution, which empties stores of food, homes of appliances deemed "bourgeois," and people of laughter.
When Ming goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an empty old wok instead, his parents wonder what they'll eat for dinner. But they soon learn that Ming brought home a wok with a mind of its own. Singing skippity-hoppity-ho, the wok rolls out of Ming's house and returns chock-full of treats for Ming's family--more than enough to share. Will the magic wok and Ming's generosity be enough to bring a happy Chinese New Year to the poor families of Beijing?
Through the stories of a terra-cotta soldier who has survived through the centuries, thirteen-year-old Ming, a village boy in 1970s China, learns the history of Emperor Qin, known both for building the Great Wall of China and for burying scholars alive, and how and why the terra-cotta soldiers came to be.
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