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Sharing the Beauty of China: Chinese Foods

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Author: Liu Junru;
Language: English
Page: 208
Publication Date: 08/2018
ISBN: 9787508540238
Details
There is a widespread saying about foods and drinks in China – “food is the first necessity of the people.” It shows the important place of “eating” in Chinese people’s life. Chinese people pay attention to eating and know how to eat. Foreigners who have been to China not only marvel at the numerous types of Chinese local foods, but also admire the changeful tastes of Chinese dishes. Though dishes in various areas have different tastes, “good colors, smells and tastes” are pursued for all dishes. Chinese people set great store by enjoyment of good foods, demonstrating joyful and leisurely eating in all aspects of daily life and pursuing their own “art of eating.” This eating culture’s influence on the world’s diversified cultures is far beyond eating itself.

About Author

Liu Junru, an associate professor at Beijing Language and Culture University, engaged in teaching and research of Chinese literature and culture for long, and taught Chinese language and culture at Murray State University in the United States in 2009. The main works include: Modern Stylistic Writing, A Kaleidoscope of Chinese Culture (co-author), Chinese Foods and more than ten academic essays.

Table of Contents
Foreword
Origins of Foods
Traditional Foods
Foreign Foods
Eating Utensils and Eating Systems
Art of Chopsticks
Warm Dinner Parties
Eating Etiquettes
Foods and Eating Customs
Taste of Home Dishes
Eating during Festivals
Minority Ethnic Groups’ Eating Habits
Drinking Tea and Drinking Wine
Chinese People’s Fondness of Tea Drinking
Joy of Wine Drinking
Delicacies and Health
Harmony of Five Flavors
Culinary Art
Ways of Health Preservation
Eating Taboos
Eating around China
Local Dishes with Distinct Flavors
Snacks in the South, North, West and East
Comparison of Restaurants in Various Regions
Postscript: My Meal in a US Cafeteria
 
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There is a widespread saying about foods and drinks in China – “food is the first necessity of the people.” It shows the important place of “eating” in Chinese people’s life. Eating is not just for elimination of hunger. The availability of foods, eating ability and eating skill are deemed as a kind of “good fortune.” In later ages, advocates of eating culture often cited the Chinese ancient thinker Confucius’ words “food and sex are basic human desires” as a positive ideological basis of On October this attitude of enjoying life. “Eating” is people’s basic desire and instinct. The neutral thought of enjoying life moderately instead of excessively and being ordinary and harmonic instead of going to the extreme is deemed as the core of Confucianism; meanwhile, the Taoist philosophy of pursuing nature and unity of man and nature also deeply influences and integrates with Chinese people’s daily life. Confucius said, “If we don’t know life, how can we know death?” This clearly shows Chinese people’s specific and pragmatic attitude towards philosophical issues such as life, which is different from Westerners’ purely metaphysical speculation. In other words, Chinese people’s spirit and philosophy are often integrated with material life, and their understanding of the world and life is manifested in specific matters in life. The most specific one in life is perhaps none other than eating. 
Chinese people pay attention to eating and know how to eat. Thanks to their culinary skills, many raw materials that seem inedible to foreigners become delicious delicacies after Chinese cooks’ work. Here the key is the art of preparing delicacies. Chinese people cook foodstuffs with different tastes together to produce different tastes. They add various seasonings and auxiliary materials, keep mixing them, and let them supplement and penetrate each other to prepare various delicious foods. Isn’t such highly imaginative blending a kind of art? Chinese philosophy holds that there is no absolute and single thing and emphasizes blending dynamically before reaching balance at last. The changes in them are judged mainly relying on intuition instead of reason. The secret of Chinese delicious foods is that such art of blending featuring highly individual comprehension emphasizes measures, local changes and overall coordination. This is the essence of China’s culinary art, the most elusive and indescribable aspect, and of course the reason why Chinese foods are wonderful.
 
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