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5000 years Cuisine Culture: Chinese Imperial Cuisine

July 13, 2011 | Author: | Posted in Cooking

Chinese emperor’s food items returns to slave society. Ever since there are emperors and palaces, there’s been imperial food, which was functioned mainly to the emperors, their spouses and concubines, and the regal families. Emperors used their ability to obtain the best delicacies and asked the very best chefs to make delicious food for them. Imperial food symbolized a dynasty’s finest delicacies.

Even though imperial food was created only for the regal family, generals, ministers, and the aristocracy, it was the peasants, herders, and fishermen who provided the raw materials, craftsmen who made the kitchen utensils, the cooking staff members who provided the service, civil officials who named the dishes, and process officials who drafted the dietary and culinary guidelines. Imperial food comprised the dietetic culture of the Chinese palaces and it is part of China’s valuable cultural heritage.

Cooking is impossible without chefs, so emperors in ancient times adored fantastic cooks. The Historical Records by Sima Qian, a famous historian of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220), reports that Yi Yin, the initial famous prime minister in known Chinese history, helped Tang (the very first ruler of the Shang Dynasty, enthroned 1766 B.C. ?C 1760 B.C.) destroy Jie (the final ruler of the Xia Dynasty, enthroned 1818 B.C. ?C 1766 B.C.).

Yi Yin were definitely a well-known cook before he became prime minister. Yi Yin, whose original name was Ah Heng, was a slave of the Youxinshi family. He thought to influence Tang of his ideas, but was missing a way, so he taken his kitchen utensils with him and won Tang’s trust by showing his creating meals skills. Tang explained him as cooking tasty dishes and having the ability to control the country, so he appointed Yi Yin as his prime minister.

Later cooks also participated in politics. Peng Zu, who is known as the creator of Chinese cooking, was chef to Emperor Yao around the commencing of the 21st century B.C. Yi Ya of the Qi State in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 B.C. ?C 476 B.C.) won the trust of Prince Huan of Qi by being proficient at cooking and pinpointing flavours. Shao Kang, the 7th emperor of the Xia Dynasty, had been a political candidate in command of the kitchen service for Youyushi before the Xia Dynasty was founded.

Zhuan Zhu of the Wu State was an assassin in the late years of the Spring and Autumn Period. In an effort to aid Prince Guang climb up to the throne, he acquired the unique skill of cooking fish from a famous chef. Through his cooking skills, he could meet Prince Liao of the Wu State and assassinated him.

In the late Shang Dynasty (16th century B.C. ?C 11th century B.C.), the govt. turned damaged and held opulent banquets and feasts in the palace. The following was written of the reign of Emperor Zhou (the last emperor of the Shang Dynasty, enthroned 1154 B.C. ?C 1122 B.C.): With a pool of wine and a forest of hanging meats, males and females chased each other undressed, drinking all night. (Records of Kings and Princes) This lavish and licentious lifestyle led to the fall of the Shang Dynasty.

Chinese imperial food came from around the Zhou Dynasty (11th century B.C. ?C 476 B.C.). Although China’s dietetic culture developed and grew previous to the Zhou Dynasty, it really flourished during the Zhou, Qin, and Han dynasties (1122 B.C. ?C 220).

The Spring and Autumn Period witnessed an unprecedented advancement in the history of Chinese thinking. Theories from the different schools of thought touched upon the universe, society and life. Practical thinkers studied how food and drink related to the everyday routine of the people. As medical science developed, the thought of dietotherapy came into being and attention was presented to dietetic hygiene. (to be continued…..)

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