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The Land of the Five FlavorsA Cultural History of Chinese Cuisine$
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Thomas Höllmann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161862

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161862.001.0001

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Fire, Ice, and Flavor

Fire, Ice, and Flavor

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter Three Fire, Ice, and Flavor
Source:
The Land of the Five Flavors
Author(s):

Thomas O. Höllmann

, Karen Margolis
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231161862.003.0003

This chapter explores the various ways in which food is prepared, sold, and served in ancient China. The agricultural system—which included soil cultivation, animal husbandry, the production of clothing and medicines, as well as trade, community, and religious functions—all followed the rhythm of the four seasons. The storage and preservation of food was doubtless of great concern at the time, with ice becoming a precious commodity. And food preparation, the domain of butchers and cooks, was refined over the centuries, as eating raw food was often considered barbaric. In the larger scale, trade and food production was overseen by a complex network of guilds that regulated the market. Evidently, throughout Chinese history, food is sometimes treated as more than mere subsistence, as even the tableware unearthed in archaeological digs shows that food also serves an aesthetic function.

Keywords:   agricultural system, four seasons, storage of food, preservation of food, trade, food preparation, food production, tableware

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