Tasting Paradise on Earth
- PUBLISHED: September 2019
- SUBJECT LISTING: Food, Asian Studies / China, History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 232 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 0 illustrations
- ISBN: 9780295745992
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Preparing and consuming food is an integral part of identity formation, which in contemporary China embodies tension between fast-forward modernization and cultural nostalgia. Jin Feng’s wide-ranging exploration of cities in the Lower Yangzi Delta—or Jiangnan, a region known for its paradisiacal beauty and abundant resources—illustrates how people preserve culinary inheritance while also revamping it for the new millennium.
Throughout Chinese history, food nostalgia has generated cultural currency for individuals. Feng examines literary treatments of Jiangnan foodways from late imperial and twentieth-century China, highlighting the role played by gender and tracing the contemporary metamorphosis of this cultural landscape, with its new platforms for food culture, such as television and the internet. As communities in Jiangnan refashion their regional heritage, culinary arts shine as markers of ethnic and social distinction.
Authors & Contributors
Jin Feng is professor of Chinese and the Orville and Mary Patterson Routt Professor of Literature at Grinnell College. She is the author of Romancing the Internet: Consuming and Producing Chinese Web Romance, The Making of a Family Saga: Ginling College (1915-1952), and The New Woman in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction. She is also the translator of Chen Hengzhe's Early Autobiography and the editor of Nostalgia and the Modern City.
[A]n excitingly original challenge to the field of food studies. Although informed by theoretical perspectives such as Bourdieu's idea of middle-class anxiety, Feng is deeply and personally grounded in China's culinary present, an experience she uses to create new perspectives and sympathies for her written sources. In this way, she is remarkably successful at bringing voices of the past into meaningful conversation with the parallel transformations of China's food enterprises, tastes, and culture.- Asian Ethnology
This magnificent piece of scholarship—imaginatively conceived, meticulously researched, and broadly interesting—will be read for years to come by food scholars as the standard reference on modern Chinese food nostalgia. It has huge potential to reach a broader audience, as it relates food culture to themes like nationalism, class, gender, and place.- Miranda Brown, author of The Art of Medicine in Early China: The Ancient and Medieval Origins of a Modern Archive
Unique and original—a valuable contribution to literatures on both contemporary China and global food studies generally.- Ellen Oxfeld, author of Bitter and Sweet: Food, Meaning, and Modernity in Rural China
This book is a delightful and engaging survey of food, food writing, and food nostalgia in the southern part of the Yangzi Delta. The author writes perceptively and with quiet good humor of the nostalgia for centuries of gourmet glory that runs strong in the region.- Eugene Anderson, author of Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China