While this lacks the flawless elegance of The Chinese Cookbook (KR 1972, p. 983) produced jointly by Claiborne and Virginia Lee, it covers much of the same material. Lin groups Chinese cooking styles into four regions (to Claiborne's three), then goes on to explain the characteristics of each. In the Northern provinces centered around Peking, flavors are light and mild, and wheat, not rice, is the main staple; in the West, Szechuan and Hunan famed for their hot and spicy dishes; the East is best known for ""red cooking"" with soy sauce over a slow fire; the South, with Canton as its culinary capital, is celebrated for its wonderful stir-fried meats and vegetables. Ritual in Chinese cooking is of paramount importance, so Lin prefaces her myriad recipes with instructions on using the Chinese cleaver to slice, dice, chop and parallel slant the ingredients and with careful explanations of various cooking methods -- deep fry, shallow fry, stir-fry, steaming, broiling, roasting and smoking. In addition there are special chapters on the proper preparation and drinking of tea and on Chinese wine which is served warm or hot, and always with, never before, a meal. The recipes are exacting and authentic -- you will have to market in Chinatown to do it right. Everything from Bird's Nest Soup to Peking Duck is included, with each dish identified by place of origin, cooking method and length of time required to prepare it. Good, thorough, but not for dilettantes.