You found us! We are a family of four (Bill & Judy, and daughters Sarah & Kaitlin), and The Woks of Life is our way of sharing our recipes & travels with each other and the world.
What began in 2013 as a quest to document our family’s history through food has become a robust online community. Since then, our blog has been recognized as the online authority on Chinese cooking in English!
- A food lover interested in going beyond Cream Cheese Wontons and Sesame Chicken…
- A college student with a drawer full of wrinkled take-out menus and only rudimentary knowledge of how to boil an egg…
- Or just someone looking to make weeknight dinners a little more interesting…
You’ve come to the right place!
Allow us to quickly introduce ourselves:
- Judy (the family matriarch) regularly scours Chinese cookbooks for new ideas and wants to keep traditional recipes alive for new generations of home cooks.
- Bill (the patriarch) grew up working and cooking in restaurants, including years of experience at his own parents’ Chinese takeout joint, which is why you can be sure our American Chinese takeout recipes are legit!
- Sarah and Kaitlin are millennials who grew up cooking from a young age, learning from grandparents, their very cool parents, and of course, food TV.
The fact that we all cook can admittedly lead to the odd kitchen squabble. But we bond over and overanalyze our food, think about what to make for dinner before lunch is over, and are relentless about perfecting our favorite dishes.
The Beginnings of The Woks of Life
The Woks of Life was born in 2013, when half of our group (the parental half) relocated to Beijing. Kaitlin was in college stateside, and Sarah began moving between both China and the U.S. whilst figuring out the meaning of post-college life.
Between all the plane rides and intermittent Skype conversations, it became difficult to stay up-to-date on all our day-to-day comings and goings, let alone what we were each preparing for dinner.
We also realized that the kid-parent separation led to said kids eating a lot less of the Chinese food normally served up by said parents.
Because let’s face it…though the two daughters of this family could make restaurant-quality thin crust pizza like nobody’s business, they hadn’t exactly been studying up on dishes usually left to the older generation.
Our solution? This website and blog, where we could share recipes, kitchen exploits, and travels.
We’ve kept it going ever since, even now that we’re all back in the U.S. Our recipes represent our own culinary genealogy, from the simple to complex, the traditional to the reinvented.
So take a look around. Pour a beverage and find tonight’s meal. Pick up some travel tips, wok shopping advice, or an explanation of what the heck Chinese black vinegar is.
(It’s the nectar of the gods, is what it is.)
Want to know more? Follow us/subscribe on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. And check out our bios here:
The Woks of Life Family Bios
Grew up in upstate New York, working through high school and college in restaurants with his father, a chef. Rose from modest beginnings as a Burger King sandwich assembler to Holiday Inn busboy and line cook, to cooking at the family’s Chinese restaurant, while also learning the finer points of Cantonese cooking from his immigrant parents. Specializes in all things Cantonese and American Chinese takeout.
Born in Shanghai, and arrived in the U.S. at age 16. Pretty much a boss when it comes to languages, being fluent in both English and three separate Chinese dialects. And boy, can she fold a spring roll (the rest of ours tend to just fall apart. It’s sad). Plus, she’s the only one in the family who’s actually good at reading Chinese, so she’s our professional menu-translator when we’re eating our way through China.
Sarah: Daughter/Older Sister
Born and raised in the Garden State, growing up on episodes of Ready Set Cook and Iron Chef. Writer, photographer, marketing professional, and daydreamer, with a penchant for Quick and Easy recipes that take less than 20 minutes to make. Like the rest of the family, she loves the outdoors and writing delightfully detailed posts about the Art of Cooking Outside.
Kaitlin: Daughter/Younger Sister
Notoriously unable to follow a recipe (usually preferring to freestyle it), Kaitlin’s the family artist, chunky-sweater-obsessed knitter, and keeper of an unreasonably detailed knowledge bank of Korean pop music. The master of all things sauces and condiments on the blog (her chili oil is legendary) and steward of our drool-worthy Instagram account.
STILL Wondering What We’re about?
Check out this “Behind the Blog” feature we made with Food Network!
Oh yeah, we also wrote a New York Times Bestselling cookbook! It’s filled with personal stories and full color photos (one for almost every recipe), and includes 100 recipes—80 brand new ones and 20 tried and true blog favorites! Most recently, it was nominated for a James Beard Award in the U.S. Foodways(!) category. Order now!
How to ORDER (Including signed copies!):
If you’re in the U.S., get your copy from any of the retailers below, or your local bookstore!
Want a signed copy? The following independent bookstores have limited numbers. Check to see if they still have one in stock, and get it shipped to you:
If you live outside the U.S., check Amazon in your home country, or try the links below, where we’ve seen the book available internationally. It’s also available as an eBook!
Photo credits: headshots by Sarah Arnoff Yeoman and group photos by Christine Han