The best part about this food project is that watching a cookery show (in bed on a lazy Sunday) counts as research.
The perfect show came up this morning. Not two minutes into Rick Stein’s Taste of Shanghi, Rick comes up with an astute theory about the inextricable links between culture and food.
Food is about culture; and if you lose your cuisine you lose your culture.
From the 1960’s for over twenty years Communism in China erased regional customs (and food with it) in favour of a United culture. Rationing limited the amount and range of ingredients available, and so traditional dishes were forfeited for a prescribed diet, manageable on meagre rations.
A resurgence of local custom and cooking has been increasing over the past twenty years since the removal of rationing; and a pride and confidence in local dishes has been restored.
From pig intestine noodles (a hanger on from days of strict rationing) to simple steamed fish/chicken with ginger, spring onion and chilli; each dish has a story to share – whether it’s regional, local or simply a family favourite.
This hour long episode (thankfully) confirmed everything I feel food does for us, aside from simply providing nourishment.