Jiang Yun: Use food to record my life history and family history

2022-08-29 0 By

Based on the chef recipes of three generations of women, namely grandma, mother and “I” (Jiang Yun), “Northern Kitchen” traces 70 years of ups and downs of the Kong family, a medical family in the north, through the urban space of Kaifeng, Taiyuan and Hong Kong.”Fake fish belly”, meat porridge, fried vegetable corner, “Cheese”, shrimp bread……The recognition and lyrical eph of three generations of Kong family to his country, history, life, nature and culture are all very tapered to the tip of the tongue, very wet and romantic. It is the homage and reflection to existence.”Northern Kitchen” came as a surprise to me, as I rarely write nonfiction, preferring to write fiction.I started by reading a book called the Philosophy of Good Eating: Savarin’s Culinary Bible, which recommended that Savarin has the world’s largest belly.He famously said, “Tell me what food you eat and I will tell you what kind of man you are.”That one kind of appeals to me.When I read this book, I thought, is there such a god?Savarin was born in France 200 years ago. Can he know the living conditions of Chinese people in the past 100 or 200 years?In fact, in many cases, what we eat is different from what we like to eat. What I like to eat may not be able to eat, and what kind of taste I have been raised to be, in a sense, does not depend on my likes and dislikes.In the current situation of human existence and history, this is very interesting and worth thinking about.So I thought, if I tell Mr. Savarin what kind of food I eat, what kind of food my family, my relatives eat, will he know what kind of person I am?I was actually in a “defiant” mood.I had so much to say that I decided to write a book about food.At that time, I did not intend to write so much and so long. Later, I felt that one article could not fully express what I wanted to express, because the history of my relatives who I remembered was at least 80 to 80 years.For the last year or two, MY novels have been about memories.Why write memories?In 2019 I published a book called Hello Anna, and the afterword of the book says, this is a book I dedicated to my mother.My mother had Alzheimer’s disease when she was in her 70s and 90s, and she suffered for more than a decade.My mother used to be the queen of women. She was smart, powerful, intelligent. I never thought my mother would become an amnesiac.The scariest thing I saw in my mother was to learn that memory sometimes dies before life, and life without memory is absolutely dark and terrible.So I also have my mother’s memory in me, and I have a sense of urgency, a sense of fear, and MY memory has been fading rapidly for a year or two, and under this sense of urgency, I have to salvage those memories that I once had.I don’t know if memory is meaningful, I don’t know if not remembering is good or bad for life, and I don’t know how my mother felt when she was trapped in darkness.These are very scary things for me, I have to rescue, I write these things are related to memory, rescue memory, also called recall time, my time.It’s a terrible thing for a nation to lose its memory so the book does start out a little provocative, and I wanted to talk to Savarin.When I started writing, however, I was immersed in memory, and savarin was no longer important, he was already out of the picture, and he had played a role in drawing me to this memory and recording my life and family history with food.For me personally, memory loss is such a terrible thing, a nation’s memory loss is also terrible, this is my original intention to write this book.I first wrote about my grandmother, my favorite in my life, the most close person in the elders is her.My grandmother is illiterate, and seldom say their own things, but I heard my grandmother said a word, because she love to listen to Henan opera, said “Chang Xiangyu every year to our home to pay a New Year’s visit,” I feel particularly strange, then also do not understand.Because our time was different, and these things, as my daughter Dianne said, were taboo and not talked about in the family.I only listen to grandma said so, later is to see the TV series “Evergreen jade” appeared in my four grandpa’s name, he is one of the characters inside.When Chang Xiangyu was a young actress, she seemed to have fallen in love with a military officer or a bandit bully and wanted her to be his concubine. Under such circumstances, someone advised her to go to Mr. Kong, who is my fourth grandfather. My fourth grandfather helped her, and finally she was not robbed.So she repay her kindness by coming to visit her every year.My fourth grandfather is a doctor. He is the earliest western medicine doctor in Henan province. He later had his own hospital, which was also the earliest private western hospital in Henan province at that time.But I don’t know how much of it is deductive, just from the TV show.Later, I heard from my father that this was probably the case, but my father was young at that time, and the fourth grandfather would not tell such things to the younger generation, and I did not see a clear record in history.Later, my grandmother said that Mei Lanfang had taken a picture with my fourth grandfather when he arrived in Henan. They looked very similar, which means that my fourth grandfather was pretty good-looking.My grandmother was married from a very poor family to a family like this, so she cooks the food for a large family, usually with some help, but eventually she has to cook the New Year’s Eve dinner herself.There is a turtle belly, in fact, is a special effort of a dish, in fact, is the meat skin, when there is no real fish belly, with fake fish belly, because there is no fish belly in the north, in those days, logistics is not as convenient as now, what you want to eat a express.The fish belly can be found in Henan province. Later, I came to know that there is a famous Henan restaurant in Taiyuan, which also has a braised turtle belly or braised turtle belly, so I know this dish takes a lot of effort, and my grandmother is very good at making it.The New Year’s Eve dinner is actually a kind of inheritance. Now the ritual sense of New Year’s Eve dinner is not as old as before. My grandma at that time wrote the menu of New Year’s Eve dinner, which has been in our family for many years.At that time, I felt that Chinese New Year was more ceremonial than it is now. In the era of material scarcity, people looked forward to it for so long. The New Year’s Eve dinner was a reward for the hard work of the year and a kind of comfort for themselves.In the past, the Lunar New Year’s Eve dinner was the most ceremonious event in our family. Everything could be put down and the whole family could not be absent. Everyone was in a very happy mood.It’s the party that kids have been thinking about for almost a year, the whole family.Later, when my mother fell ill and couldn’t cook any more, the dinner became more and more indifferent. It was almost the same as usual, and there was no ceremony at all.After that, I went out to eat every year and came back.And fast New Year’s eve, so began to miss the previous dinner.New Year’s Eve dinner is actually a kind of inheritance.My mom didn’t cook or cook anything when my grandma was around.At 18 she left home to go to school and join the revolution in the liberated areas.She can’t cook at all. She usually eats in the canteen.After I got married, my grandma did all the housework, but she still couldn’t do it.After my grandma didn’t, I had dian, and my mother began to learn from my grandma to make zongzi and yuanxiao.She said that children should know what to eat in each solar term and how to spend each festival, and have a sense of festival.My mother brought out all her talents and energy and was dutifully a very Chinese housewife.Including later when Di Ann went out to school, my mother to the Dragon Boat Festival dumplings wrapped, frozen, and so on when she came back, the Dragon Boat Festival dumplings make up.She felt that a Chinese child did not have zongzi to eat during the Dragon Boat Festival, so poor, she would re-cook and let her come back to eat.I am also a grandmother now, when I was a mother, my mother took care of the child, now my mother has no, Dianne will not do.And NOW I’m starting to think that I have to be a little bit more careful about creating this atmosphere for my kids.The Mid-Autumn Festival does not love to eat moon cakes, I also want to put the moon cakes on the plate, let the little guy worship the moon.Even if you don’t like to eat moon cakes, you should have a bite, because it is not just to eat moon cakes, but also something in our blood.The book was very casual at the beginning, and it said that I was quite ambitious to leave a memo to the culinary history of the north through a small family and family in the north.In this memo, not only is it created through food, but it’s about 80 or 80 years of survival memories, about our life memories.Author: Jiang Yun Editor: Zhou Yiqian Lead editor: Zhu Zifen