Renowned sinologist Thomas O. Hollmann tracks the growth of food culture in China from its earliest burial rituals to today's Western fast food restaurants, mapping Chinese cuisine's geographical variations and local customs, indigenous factors and foreign influences, trade routes, and ethnic associations. Hollmann details the food practices of major Chinese religions and the significance of eating and drinking in rites of passage and popular culture. He enriches his narrative with thirty of his favorite recipes and a selection of photographs, posters, paintings, sketches, and images of clay figurines and other objects excavated from tombs. Hollmann's award-winning history revisits the invention of noodles, the role of butchers and cooks in Chinese politics, debates over the origin of grape wines, and the causes of modern-day food contamination. He discusses local crop production, the use of herbs and spices, the relationship between Chinese food and economics, the influence of Chinese philosophy, and traditional dietary concepts and superstitions.
Citing original Chinese sources, Hollmann uncovers fascinating aspects of daily Chinese life, constructing a multifaceted compendium that inspires a rich appreciation of Chinese arts and culture.
Thomas O. Hollmann is a professor of Chinese studies and ethnology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and a former vice president of the Bavarian Academy of Science. His publications include The Silk Road and The Old China: A Cultural History. Karen Margolis is a writer and translator living in Berlin. She is also the translator of The Art of Philosophy by Peter Sloterdijk.
Preface 1. Rice Doesn't Rain from Heaven 2. A Taste of Harmony 3. Fire, Ice, and Flavor 4. A Culinary Cosmos 5. Heavenly Dew 6. Regulations and Conventions 7. The Tavern of Eternal Happiness 8. Epilogue Bibliography Appendix Index