Kong Qiu

Kong Qiu, better known as Confucius, was a teacher, politician and philosopher born in 551 B.C. in the Lu state of China. His teachings, preserved in the Analects, focused on creating ethical models of family and public interaction, and setting educational standards. Confucianism became the official imperial philosophy of China.

Confucius’ principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives. He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”, an early version of the Golden Rule.

The Philosophy of Confucius is deeply reflected in Chinese food culture. He attached great importance to food and described it as one of the three basic conditions, along with an army and trust, for founding a state.

It is said that Confucius helped to bring perfect taste to Chinese food by developing proper cooking techniques. His teachings regarding cooking methods are still considered as an important part in Chinese food culture.

Some Confucian food basics:

  • Food should be served in small or chopped pieces
  • The taste of any dish depends on proper mixing of all of its ingredients and condiments
  • Taste of individual elements does not have great importance in food, but fine blending of ingredients results in great taste and dishes in meals must be compatible
  • Blending of food also results in harmony and is an important part of the philosophy; without harmony foods cannot taste good

Confucius recommends:

  • Eat only at meal times
  • Don’t eat food that smells bad
  • Don’t consume food that is not well cooked
  • Eat fresh and local; do not eat food out of season
  • Don’t eat when the sauces and seasonings are not correctly prepared
  • Eat ginger but in moderation so as to not increase the internal heat of the body
  • Know the origin or source of your food
  • The way you cut your food reflects the way you live
  • Meat should be eaten in moderation
  • Eat only until seven tenths full; control in portions promotes longevity
  • You need not limit drinking, but do not drink to the point of confusion
  • Hygiene is essential in food preparation

Confucian philosophy strongly believes that food and friends are inseparable parts of life. A life without food and friends is considered as incomplete and improper.

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