When Chinese people tell stories about Chinese food, the tales quickly begin to sound remarkably formulaic. This essay seeks to explore that phenomenon, understand it, and explode it. From the standard opening and concluding phrases to the stock figures of disguised benefactors and Cinderella-types, these storytelling conventions serve to illuminate a passel of archetypes. Some are universal (the nature of craving, how a sovereign's absolute control over any individual subject belies his dependence upon the mass of them), and others possess Chinese characteristics (the longing for immortality, the tension between virtuoso technique and folk authenticity).
Glutton for Punishment
lilly chow earned a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Irvine before fleeing academia. After a decade of working as an editor in publishing and media, she finds that her scholarly impulses are re-emerging in an unexpected way. Now she spends her leisure time researching both colloquial and classical Chinese culinary writing as well as regional and imperial Chinese cuisines. She currently lives in Beijing.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
lilly chow; Glutton for Punishment. Gastronomica 1 February 2009; 9 (1): 24–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2009.9.1.24
Download citation file: