The Ingredients That Define, instead of Get Behind Cuisine Chinoise

12 Dec

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Plenty of Chinese cooking philosophy can be learned in the upcoming release of Zao Dao’s comic anthology Cuisine Chinoise: 5 Tales of Life and Food. Dark Horse Comics is publishing the translated edition and it is set for release June 2020.

In what’s key to this culture’s style of cuisine is in different ingredients gel together. It’s not just about the tastes, but also in how it brings people together. It’s said to bring different people of conflicting ideologies together. Just look at Voltron: Legendary Defender. In the finale. Hunk (the Yellow Paladin) believes he can bring feuding empires together at the dinner table. Peace can be made one meal at a time. Mending old wounds can be tough, and when some food has healing properties, perhaps all that’s needed is a careful time to taste that fine red wine.

Not only are the principles of yin and yang involved to bring balance, there’s other facts to be found that nearly all Chinese master chefs share. Key to bringing this balance to the force are also the five flavours–Sour (酸 suān); Sweetness (甜 tián or 甘 gān); Spice (辛 xīn); Bitter (苦 kǔ) and Salt (咸 xián). These specific natures are reflected for those who read Dao’s work when it was originally published in France. Editions Mosquito handled this release and those impatient can visit Stuartngbooks.com for an original French-language edition. The watercolours are beautiful, and Dao has a style which elevates the bamboo drawings to beyond simple line drawings.

Not only are the relationships between man and the spirit world are explored but also we’re treated to a deeply philosophical work which is very different from how Stephen Chow looked at this topic in his comedy, God of Cookery. The cinema world loves exploring culinary philosophies. Some have become wonderful studies of families rediscovering the past, and others are simply that–a treat to the senses!

The overlap between food, family, and culture are seamlessly highlighted in this special “cook book.” From insects looking for a meal to a man whose passion for cooking is the only hope of maintaining a family legacy, these wonderfully illustrated stories explore the rich and humorous world within while showcasing the beautiful relationship between Chinese culture and food.

Cuisine Chinoise: 5 Tales of Life and Food has two release dates. Some may consider comic shops are getting the appetizer on June 10, 2020 and hopefully a main course (book signing perhaps?) at bookstores June 23, 2020. The 96-page paperback graphic novel anthology is available for pre-order through Amazon and at your local comic shop for $19.99.

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