Mr.Shan ‘s Kitchen in the Eyes of His Daughter
By Liu Lingzi
Sit by the fire, and share the flavors of life.
The soul of eating is to chew the delight in food. Chinese food harmonizes the five flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty) and the art of Chinese food lies in the choosing and changing of ingredients. Even with limited cook wares and seasonings, you can still cook different dishes that are pleasant both to the eye and the tongue as long as you slightly alter cooking procedures. Those who knows the essence of eating value the good look of a dish, but compared with good look, they value more of the ingredient itself. As to the look of dishes, Chinese are not very particular about plate presentation. Proper ingredients crush in a natural way, and when the crash is suddenly intercepted at the right time, they evolve into special sceneries, sceneries in the plate.
Compared with colors, smells are even more delicate. The aroma of food sometimes greets you directly and thickly, and sometimes presents itself subtly and softly. You will know which kind is more pleasant. But if a stinky mandarin fish (marinate mandarin fish which is smelly but tasty) is served onto the table, the whole room will stink of that 「incredible」 smell. But that smell is not real stink. Although it’s as if offensive at first, you will gradually come to terms with it and accept it, because you know it tastes good. Therefore, it doesn’t actually disgust you, and instead, brings laughs and jokes to the table. Everyone targets it as the first dish, wanting to finish it as quickly as possible, and then open the window and let out the smell. A paradoxical dish like this occasionally can be the spice of life.
As for the tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty, each can numb the tongue when it is too much. A good cook knows how much is the proper amount without need to refer to a recipe. Having cooked for long, he has already had a recipe of his own in the mind. Cooking is just like singing, it is easy to sing with the lyrics and music, but it’s always hard as to the flavor.