|Fuchsia Dunlop - the full interview|
A bit of food history
written by DF , January 26, 2013
Sorry but this video was nearly 18 minutes long and I didn't learn anything new about Chinese culinary arts. And I was really put off by the cliches Ms. Dunlop has chosen to repeat.
First off, emphasis on meat as the centerpiece of a meal in the West is a MODERN characteristic. It's also a growing trend in China as the middle class DEMANDS more meat. This is true in other developing nations true, with maybe the exception of India where vegetables REALLY are emphasized.
Secondly, sharing dishes family style was the COMMON way of eating in the West until a century or two ago. In Europe, this was referred to as the French Style, as opposed to Russian Style where every plate was brought out separately for every guest. EVERY culture traditionally served food in the family style, and now in China food is increasingly being served in the Western Style.
Third, if there is no such thing as "Chinese food" there is no such thing as "Western food" either. I live in the West and I've never had pot roast or apple crumble. And I fail to see the common thread between dishes as diverse as Texas BBQ brisket, Galician octupus and Romanian dolmas. I have yet to find an entire dinner party find any of them anything other than delicious.
Romantic images of cultures are very naive, especially when it comes to food. I would love to hear of a recipe for a common food that has remained unchanged for 100, 50 even 20 years. After all, Sichuan MaLa flavour can't be that ancient since chilis come from the New World...
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