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Cecilia Tu's Five for Charity

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Personal Perspectives

Fall Volume: 2008 Issue: 15(3) page(s): 34

Cecila Tu's efforts delight. Dedicated to her children, Amy and Andy, and related causes she strongly believes in, she has rewritten her cookbook five times, most are virtually new books and not revisions. They are all fund raisers, their initial purpose to help Andy and others with cerebral palsy. Now Cecilia, Andy, and these books have helped many others, as well.

The newest among the books is a fifth edition and like Andy, it is bigger and better. The fourth edition has a prize-winning recipe, granted in October 1986 and published in the NW Arkansas Times; it is provided at the end of this article, for your pleasure.

The first edition, put out in 1973, was a stapled pamphlet with thirty-one recipes. They were tested in Mom's cooking classes and sponsored by the Women's Charity League of Fayetteville in Arkansas. Proceeds of its eighteen unnumbered pages went to the Cerebral Palsy School. Revised in 1976, this edition has thirty-four numbered pages, fifty recipes, and is sponsored by the Fayetteville Multi-Handicapped Children's Association. The third edition with thirty-seven pages includes eighty-seven recipes. These three are all stapled pamphlets. The next revision has a new look. This is spiral bound, printed on board pages, and has one hundred nineteen recipes on its hundred forty-three pages. Andy's mom is photographed on its cover and the book is called Cecilia Tu's China Cook Book. We bought this edition on the web, then contacted Mrs. Tu. She generously sent all earlier editions as donations to the Jacqueline M Newman Stony Brook Chinese Cookbook Collection. We and they are especially grateful as these were her very last copies. She also sent an autographed more recent edition dated 1989. This fifth edition has one hundred fifty-six pages, forty new recipes, and more front matter.

Proceeds from all these volumes helped many cerebral palsy-related institutions. The most recent was a multi-handicapped class at Butterfield Trail Elementary School. In this last edition, Mrs. Tu thanks the Adult Education Department of the Fayetteville Public Schools for enabling her to teach Chinese cooking classes there over the past ten years. She also thanks her husband Yien, her daughter Amy, and the many others who made these books possible.

We thank Cecilia Tu for her many efforts and donations of proceeds from all of these books. Cooking may be her favorite hobby but it went beyond what it does for other hobbyists. Her books raised funds for others, specifically for many physically handicapped children. We applaud her for that!

Now, she and her husband are retired, but Andy is not. In 1997, he graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in political science. As one can see from a recent photograph, he is happy and he bowls. He works as a volunteer in a hospital advocating for people like himself. Andy, while your Mom says to thank all the people who supported these programs and bought her books, we say we need to thank her for enabling what may be the best program in the area.

We were lucky to find one of her books on the web. This did enable us to join the legions of others who helped provide very special 'special education' for Andy and others through her Chinese cooking classes and Chinese cookbooks. Many in these programs benefitted from Cecilia Tu's fantastic efforts. Therefore, we salute her, and encourage others to use Chinese cooking as a vehicle for helping others.

Should you want the most recent edition, if copies are still available, contact: Cecilia Tu's China Cook Book at 2842 Sheryl Avenue, Fayetteville AK 72703. Use her prize-winning recipe and think of the many great things her Chinese cooking did for others.
Stir-fried Chicken in Tomato Sauce
2 chicken breasts (about one pound)
1/2 Tablespoon cooking sherry
1 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup fresh mushrooms, each one cut into four pieces
1/4 cup celery
1/4 cup carrots
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons catsup
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with three tablespoons cold water
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 scallion, cut on an angle into one-inch pieces
1. Debone chicken, and discard the skin. Cut the breast meat into half-inch cubes.
2. To chicken, add sherry, the tablespoon of soy sauce, and the cornstarch, Mix well and let marinate ten minutes, then using a slotted spoon, remove from the marinade; set both aside separately.
3. Cut mushrooms, celery, and carrots on the diagonal into one-inch pieces.
4. Heat wok or fry pan, add oil, and fry the chicken until almost cooked, remove from the oil and set the chicken aside.
5. Remove all but two tablespoons of oil from the wok or pan, and stir-fry the mushrooms, celery, and carrots for two minutes. Then add catsup, sugar, and the half tablespoon of soy sauce and the cornstarch mixture and cook until thickened before returning chicken to the pan and cook another minute, then serve.

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