This article documents the presence of cheese in the culinary traditions of southeast China between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries through a close analysis of a single recipe collection, Mr. Song's Book of Nourishing Life. It opens by examining Mr. Song's techniques for cheesemaking, exploring his many culinary applications for cheese, and situating his interest in dairy within the broader tradition of cheesemaking of his place and time. By reconstructing the flavors of centuries past, this article recovers a forgotten tradition of cheesemaking in southern China and challenges popular stereotypes about traditional Chinese cuisine being dairy-free.
Mr. Song's Cheeses: Southern China, 1368–1644
Miranda Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan, where she has taught since completing her PhD in History at UC Berkeley in 2002. She is the author of more than a dozen articles on Chinese cultural and social history and two books: The Politics of Mourning in Early China (2007) and The Art of Medicine in Early China: The Ancient and Medieval Origins of a Modern Archive (2015). She is also a founding editor of Fragments: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ancient and Medieval Pasts. She is currently preoccupied with the history of Chinese food.
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Miranda Brown; Mr. Song's Cheeses: Southern China, 1368–1644. Gastronomica 1 May 2019; 19 (2): 29–42. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2019.19.2.29
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