China in Seven Banquets: A Flavourful History (Hardcover)

China in Seven Banquets: A Flavourful History By Thomas David DuBois Cover Image
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A captivating journey spanning five thousand years of Chinese culinary heritage, exploring the essence of each era through seven extraordinary meals.
China in Seven Banquets takes readers on a gastronomic adventure into the history of China’s constantly evolving and astonishingly diverse cuisine. From the opulent Eight Treasures feast of ancient times to the Tang dynasty’s legendary “Tail-Burning” banquet, and the extravagant “complete Manchu-Han feast” of the Qing court, these iconic repasts offer glimpses into China’s rich food history. Delving further, the book invites us to partake of lavish banquets immortalized in literature and film, a New Year’s buffet from 1920s Shanghai, a modern delivery menu reflecting the hyperglobal present, and it even offers a peek at the tables of the not-so-distant future. Drawing upon his extensive gastronomic adventures across China, acclaimed historian Thomas David DuBois unravels its ever-changing landscape of culinary trends, revealing why flavors and customs evolved over time. DuBois also recreates dozens of traditional recipes using modern kitchen techniques. Whether indulging in fermented elk or savoring absinthe cocktails, readers embark on an unparalleled odyssey that redefines their perception of Chinese cuisine.

About the Author

Thomas David DuBois is professor in the Folk Culture Research Center of Beijing Normal University. He is the author of numerous books on China’s history and religion.

Praise For…

"A ‘flavorful history’ of 500 years of Chinese cuisine via seven storied dinners. Food historian DuBois shares his findings from decades of travelling around China, revealing the country’s culinary character through meals including the ‘tail-burning’ banquet of the Tang dynasty, plus insights into food featured in Chinese literature and film, a New Year’s buffet from 1920s Shanghai and a twenty-first-century delivery menu."
— National Geographic Traveler

"Take a seat at some of the greatest banquets in the history of China! Using resources from the period and first-hand accounts, this book brings the history and culture of China to life."
— Max Miller, New York Times–bestselling author of “Tasting History”

"China in Seven Banquets is a wonderfully pleasurable insight into the long history of Chinese food. DuBois’s delightful prose is quite a banquet to feast on. This book will take pride of place in my library of cookery books, as it will in yours!"
— Ken Hom OBE, author, chef, and TV presenter

"Anyone who wants to understand China's food culture needs to read this book. With the eye of a historian and experience in the kitchen, DuBois strips away the myths of China's culinary history, not only showing the evolution of recipes but explaining the problems that modernization has brought to China's diet. Much more than a history of food, this book is a history of China with a seat at the dining table."
— Rongguang Zhao, author of "A History of Food Culture in China"

"A brilliant piece of food history by a scholar who knows all about changes in commodities, tastes, values and techniques, but also conveys his love and first-hand experience of cooking in China. It powerfully debunks prejudices and preconceptions that there is one unique Chinese cuisine, and opens worlds of exquisite differences."
— Vincent Goossaert, professor of Daoist studies, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Université PSL, Paris

"This book confronts the undoable—it characterizes China through several thousand years of changing foodways. The seven banquets selected—historical, literary, imagined and filmic, even a fast-food delivery feast—make for a micro-history of excess in a culture which famously celebrates its myriad regional cuisines. The writing bristles with menus, recipes and tales of ordinary and unlikely ingredients. DuBois is a great storyteller. What I love the most is his joyous engagement in the kitchen, with records of his experiments with the culinary unknown, both successful and not quite so."
— Vivienne Lo, director, UCL China Centre for Health and Humanity
Product Details
ISBN: 9781789148619
ISBN-10: 1789148618
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: June 17th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English