For many years I have had Chinese students from various regions of China sharing my home. They all cooked all of their meals at home and we sometimes entertained. Their friends would come and cook as well! We would have food from every region of China. It was a feast and I learned a lot from them.
They were all good cooks, one was exceptional. He was from Fujian and cooked only the freshed of seafood dishes. Of course none of them used cookbooks and found it amusing that I had so many Chinese cookbooks and that I cooked from them. However they tasted my dishes and some they approved of as worthy contributions to their banquets. They found Eileen Yin Fei Lo's steamed fish with ginger and grren onion to be excellent and authentic as well as her mapo dofu which they said was unusual but still delicious. I also made a sizzling beef dish from Ken Hom's cookbook on Hong Kong and Kylie Kwong's fried rice which they approved and deigned to eat.
I have owned Irene Kuo's cookbook for years and it is worn and stained but that is the book I used to teach myself Chinese cooking as did my husband. I learned to make red cooked duck, pork buns and mandarin pancakes, to velevet chicken and shrimp, dry cook green beans, cook pork two ways etc etc.
I cooked excellent recipes for Chinese tripe and steamed beef coated in ground rice, and rice cakes as well as noodle dishes from Barbara Tropp's cookbooks. These were recipes for food that I ate in an obscure Chinese restaurant in Montreal during my youth and was nostalgic for. They came from the Chinese menu and were not available on the English menu. Barbara Tropp's recipes approximated my food memories of these dishes very well.
I have bought Grace Young's cookbooks and love how she writes about Chinese food and how to cook it. She articulates beautifully for me, the process of cooking the way Chinese people do, the way I observed my Chinese students cooking. I haven't cooked from her books yet but I plan to. Her recipes seem very Cantonese to me and my taste buds don't always lean in that direction.
And I love Fuschia Dunlop's books and have cooked from them. The most recent Chinese student who lived in my home was a senior government official from Naning. She was writing a book on Asian trade agreements but in between she cooked and entertained a lot. She was scornful of my Chinese cookbooks except for one and that was Fuschia Dunlop's Cooking for Chairman Mao (I may be remembering the title incorrectly.) She highly approved of the recipe for Chairman Mao's favourite dish Braised Pork Belly which she cooked often. Since I frequently found Fuschia Dunlop's cookbook on the dining room table I can only assume that she was consulting it although she never would have admitted to doing that.