Xiaoqing Yan

Xiaoqing Yan嚴小青is Associate Professor at the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China. Her research focuses on the history of spices in China.

Abstract

A Study of Spices and the Historical Development of Aromatic Culture

in China*

中国香食、食香与相关香文化流变的历史考察

The use of spices in food has contributed to the aromatic culture in traditional China. Its long history may be divided into two periods: pre-Song and post-Song. Before the Song dynasty (10th-14th centuries) spices were mostly indigenous, whereas after the Song a variety of them came from abroad and underwent further development in China. This paper delineates the history of Chinese aromatic culture from its

emergence to maturity. In the modern period, the eight major regional cuisines in China are all inseparable from the use of spices. Spices are not only an integral part of food culture but also invested with symbolic and even spiritual significance.

香食是芳香食物。中国食香文化源远流长。因为香食与食香,随之逐渐有了与之相适应的香文化。这个过程分为两个比较鲜明的时期。一是在宋代之前以本土芳香植物为主流的时期。一是在宋代以后以域外香料传入中土并融入中土文化再发展起来的时期。因为不断融入外来饮食元素,我们的食谱不再单一,调料不仅有为有点滋味的盐,还有了为调味、矫味、去腥、提味的各种香料。从商代“鬯人”酿酒到先民将芳香植物献给宗庙和爱人,从宋代的《山家清供》、元代的《饮食须知》到明代的《便民图纂》,再到晚清的《随园食单》和《养小录》,我们可见中华食香文化的从单一到全面再到成熟的清晰脉络。现代八大菜系都离不开各种香料的配合。在不知不觉中,中国人食用芳香食物早已经成为一种怡情又养生的食香文化。