Biomass stoves, or shaoguo, are used exclusively in rural China for everyday cooking. Making use of agricultural wastes, these improved cook stoves are an economically efficient way to prepare foods and provide a complex taste profile to the everyday wheat-based staples cooked in them. Nevertheless, these stoves are associated with rural backwardness and failures of rural development. In this article, I understand shaoguo as a productive part of making home and belonging for families affected by urban migration. Considering the ways that shaoguo indexes rural identity and social belonging, I think through the connections between cooking and creating spaces of home.
“If you haven’t shaoguo’ed, you haven’t eaten”: Sensorial Landscapes of Belonging in the Kitchens of Rural China
Erin Thomason is an anthropologist studying intergenerational family dynamics. She earned her PhD from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her current book project explores experiences of grandmothering and caretaking in rural China.
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Erin Thomason; “If you haven’t shaoguo’ed, you haven’t eaten”: Sensorial Landscapes of Belonging in the Kitchens of Rural China. Gastronomica 1 February 2021; 21 (1): 38–51. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2021.21.1.38
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