Sichuan Food and Hunan Food

Ran Yunfei in his 2009 book  Wu Yu: A Life in the Republican Era 1911 – 1949  吴虞和他生活的民国时代   examined the many diaries of Prof. Wu Yu of Sichuan University (known in the May 4th era as a critic of Confucius), mining them for a thematic examination of life in Chengdu during the Republican period.
Part of the first section (pp. 20 – 30) discusses food and restaurants in Chengdu.  Ran fills in some background, saying that the original Sichuan culinary style was largely lost after much of the population was killed in the slaughters surrounding the uprising and suppression of the peasant leader Zhang Xianzhong  张献忠  of the late Ming and early Qing.  (Some argument about whether crazed peasant revolutionary or the repression by the reactionary cliques was largely responsible for the slaughter, it seems) [ Wiki https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%BC%A0%E7%8C%AE%E5%BF%A0 ]   See the scan of pp. 20 – 21.
Large scale immigration of Hakka and other people from Guangdong and Hunan regions planted sweet potato and hot pepper etc. to Sichuan that were arriving from the New World with foreign trade. These newcomers together with competition among restaurants as outsiders came to rapidly growing cities largely produced Sichuan food.  He said that while some of the Sichuan food came from family recipes, if it were not for the competition among restaurants in the cities it could not have developed so quickly in only a 150 years or so.
It does make me wonder about the concept of history.  If the people are all killed, does history continue?  Or is it just the history of a place, and the people are secondary.  It makes me wonder about the differences that apparently grew up between Hunan and Sichuan food.  I remember learning about food origins at dinner in Kaifeng one evening having some “Peking Roast Duck”.   My host grumbled “This is really Kaifeng Roast Duck.  The Beijingers stole the dish from Kaifeng in the late 19th century and then called it Peking Roast Duck!”
I only made one weeklong trip to Changsha and then to visit Mao’s and Liu Shaoqi’s homes.  I don’t know enough to compare cuisines.  One good thing about living in China is that they have lots of good Chinese restaurants!  I miss the spicy food and friendly restaurants of Chengdu.
Some of the sources quoted in the Chinese language Wiki article on the slaughter in Chengdu and Sichuan:

计六奇明季南略》记载:“献忠遂屠重庆,砍手三十余万人,流血有声。”  “Zhang Xianzhong continued the slaughter in Chongqing, where he killed over 300,000 people. So much blood that you could hear it flowing by!”

客滇述》:“献忠既陷成都,尽伐梨树,做宫室驰道,练兵于此。贼兵之樵采者,尽入城中,拆毁房屋以为薪。又发兵四出,搜各州县山野,不论男女老幼,逢人便杀;如是半载。八月,献忠毁成都城,焚蜀王宫殿,并焚未尽之民房。凡石柱亭栏,皆毁之;大不能毁者,更聚薪烧裂之。成都有大城小城,本张仪所筑,汉昭烈帝修之。甃以大石,贯以铁絙,壮丽甲天下。宫殿之盛,亦不减京师。至是,尽为瓦砾矣。献忠又令其大家遍收川兵杀之,及其妻子男异性,惟十时以下者仅留一、二。 ”

外国传教士吉洛东圣教入川记》:“残杀之后,成都为之一空。除少数官员外,别无居民。荒凉惨象,不忍瞩目。献忠剿灭成都后,命令各乡镇村民移居成都。”  “After the slaughter, Chengdu was totally empty.  Except for a few officials, there were no residents left.  The scene was so horrible, one couldn’t bear to look at it.  After that Zhang Xiangzhong viper’s nest was cleared out, it was ordered that the various townships and villages send some people to live in Chengdu”

在张献忠死后出现了清军跟南明军对峙的局面,清军的势力于川北保宁一带,而南明军队占据着四川境内大部分州县[13]。根据《蜀龟鉴》的记载,经过张献忠军队的屠杀,川南的人口损失约50%,而川北的人口几乎损失殆尽。尽管川南和川北都遭到了张献忠的军队的屠杀,可是到了张献忠死后,南明与清朝对峙的时期,南明控制的川南,人口明显多于清朝控制的川北。川北遭受的破坏,比川南严重得多。因此,综上所述,清朝军队以十三年的时间才平定四川,并不是表示清朝一直在屠杀四川人[14][15]

此外,明末清初四川人口的锐减,是多股势力混战的最终恶果,张献忠并不是唯一的屠川元凶[16]。至于张献忠屠杀六万万人有奇一说,有文献显示事实上是四川当地的地主以及南明将领污蔑和嫁祸张献忠[17],另外古代计量单位“万万”虽然等于“亿”,但“万万”和“亿”在下数系统中表示的却是“十万”(参看中文数字)。

 

The food in Hunan and Sichuan didn’t get spicy though until the late Ming and early Qing dynasty (17th century) when chili peppers arrived from the New World.

历史[编辑]

古典川菜的出现可追溯至,在宋代已经形成流派,当时的影响范围主要是中原[1]

初,辣椒美洲欧洲引入中国,川菜也开始用上辣椒调味,遂潮形成以麻辣味为主的料理方式,现代意义上的川菜开始成形。1646年,肃亲王张献忠后,大批汉人西徙四川,创制出四川独有的迩调技艺。[2]乾隆年间,四川罗江文人李调元在其《函海·醒园录》中系统地搜集了川菜的38种烹调方法

晚清以来,川菜逐步形成地方风味极其浓郁的菜系,由筵席菜、大众便餐菜、家常菜、三蒸九扣菜、风味小吃等5类菜肴组成完整的风味体系。其风味则是清、、浓并重,并以麻辣著称。对长江上游和等地均有相当的影响。

特点[编辑]

川菜以成都重庆两地的菜肴为代表。所用的调味品有花椒胡椒辣椒,合称“三椒”;,合称“三香”;以及郫县豆瓣酱永川豆豉等亦使用频繁,以调味为重点的有“鱼香”、“怪味”等菜。川菜的风格朴实而又清新,官家川菜精细别致,农家川菜具浓厚的乡土气息。

 

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About 高大伟 David Cowhig

Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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