The book was the result of Ellen and John Schrecker studying Chinese culture in Taiwan, during which they met Mrs. Chiang Jung-feng, a superb Chinese Szechwan cook. The tastes and textures of her dishes were always clear and bright. She was a master of the "zhen wer" or true taste; the result of continual care, attention to detail and practice. Subsequently, Mrs. Chiang came home with them to New Jersey.
Szechwan cooking is a highly spiced, yet subtle cuisine. Although the recipes in the book are considered peasant food - good hearty home cooking - even the poorest peasants eat extraordinary food, giving them the nickname of "good-eating devils."
The book contains Chiang Jung-feng's childhood memories of her mother's fragrant Szechwan kitchen that evoke the spirit as well as the taste of home cooking. Her mother was a superlative cook who understood very well that her daughter's fortune depended on her skill in the kitchen and taught her well. The hundreds of recipes were by Chiang Jung-feng and tested in the Schrecker New Jersey kitchen.