The Land of the Five Flavors: A Cultural History of Chinese Cuisineby Thomas O. Hollmann
Renowned sinologist Thomas O. Höllmann 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. Höllmann details the food practices of major… See more details below
Renowned sinologist Thomas O. Höllmann 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. Höllmann 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.
Höllmann'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, Höllmann uncovers fascinating aspects of daily Chinese life, constructing a multifaceted compendium that inspires a rich appreciation of Chinese arts and culture.
Höllmann (Chinese studies & ethnology, Ludwig Maximilian Univ., Munich; Time and Ritual in Early China) has pulled together a study on the cultural history of China through its cooking, working from written, illustrated, and archaeological materials. Like Junru Liu's Chinese Food, this volume focuses on China's long history with food. Höllmann paints a picture of China that is encompassing and easily dispels Western myths about the country. Though this title isn't a cookbook, Höllmann also includes traditional recipes that can easily be adapted for the modern cook—a pleasant surprise for readers. Tables and illustrations enhance the text. The author even examines Western influences on Chinese cooking (such as the invasion of fast food), as well as how Chinese cuisine has been adapted in Western cultures. VERDICT This engaging look at China's culinary history will appeal to readers interested in China and those who enjoy books on cooking.—Ginny Wolter, Toledo-Lucas Cty. P.L.
- Columbia University Press
- Publication date:
- Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History Series
- Product dimensions:
- 6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
Thomas O. Höllmann 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.
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