post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Mountain Chef
Author: Annette Bay Pimentel
Major Themes: California, Camping, National Parks
Synopsis: Tie Sing carefully planned gourmet meals for a camping trip in the Sierras in California, but what happened when he lost his groceries?
Have you ever been curious about how the National Park Service in the United States began? No? Even if you weren’t, Mountain Chef, a delightful picture book, will help you understand it! And, even if you aren’t the slightest bit interested in the National Park Service, the story is absolutely wonderful.
You see, Stephen Mather, a millionaire, wanted to begin the National Park Service, but first he had to convince people that it was needed. So, in 1915, he invited 30 important people to go on a camping trip in the Sierras in California. Of course, he knew that if they slept poorly or ate badly, they would not be interested in his ideas at all, so he made sure to provide good beds and delicious food. And who better to cook the delicious food than Tie Sing? Tie Sing was a Chinese man who had been born in America, and he was a great cook, the best trail cook in California!
Tie Sing knew how to plan; he purchased groceries for gourmet meals for 30 guests for 10 days, and had everything packed into the wilderness on mules. Every morning he got up early and prepared breakfast, packed lunch for everyone, packed up, moved on to the next campsite, and cooked another gourmet meal. Then one day, disaster struck when a fully-loaded mule wandered off, never to be seen again…and then another fully-loaded mule fell off a cliff. Now what was Tie Sing to do, without his gourmet ingredients?
I loved the story of this man’s ingenuity, as well as the beautiful water-color pictures illustrating the story. The author has included several pages of more information at the end of the book as well, which are very interesting. My children greatly enjoyed Mountain Chef.