The Canadian author of Tales from Gold Mountain (1991) tells another story about the Chinese-American experience. While Maylin does the cooking for her family's Chinatown restaurant, her greedy father and two fat brothers take all the credit. When her specially prepared dish, ""Roses Sing on New Snow,"" is served to the visiting governor of South China, he asks the brothers to show him how it was made. They fail miserably; and even when Maylin is summoned and the governor works beside her in order to learn her secrets, the food he prepares is inferior to hers. ""If you and I sat down with paper and brush and black ink, could we bring forth identical paintings?"" Maylin asks, winning a reputation for wisdom as well as for cooking. Chan, a native of Hong Kong, makes a fine debut with his carefully researched watercolors, setting the story early in this century; evocative with period detail, they nicely convey the story's drama and humor. A satisfying variant on a theme that appears in many cultures.