Pimentel, Annette Bay Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service, illustrated by Rich Lo. PICTURE BOOK. Charlesbridge, 2016. $16.95. Content: G.
Tie Sing was born in Nevada to Chinese parents sometime before 1875. In 1915, know as the best trail cook in California, he assisted on an expedition led by millionaire Stephen Mather to convince some high-ranking congressmen to establish a new national park service to oversee the national parks already in existence. Tie Sing planned and cooked gourmet meals on the trails for the 30+ people on the expedition, changed meal plans on the fly as disaster struck and conditions changed, and kept the party fed and happy.
Tie Sing’s story provides a lot of food for thought. Despite a lack of official records detailing Tie Sing’s life, there were enough references to him in letters and photographs for the author to sufficiently describe this influential episode. He worked within the bounds of what was possible during times of tremendous racism against people of Chinese descent. This would be a good book to help diversify a library’s nonfiction collection and acknowledge the contributions of marginalized people on historical events. Rich Lo’s outstanding watercolors are an excellent addition. Timely, since this year is the 100-year anniversary of the NPS.
EL – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: JA, High School Librarian.