Chopsticks have become a quintessential part of the Japanese, Chinese and Korean culinary experience across the globe, with more than one fifth of the world's population using them daily to eat. In this vibrant, highly original account of the history of chopsticks, Q. Edward Wang charts their evolution from a simple eating implement in ancient times to their status as a much more complex, cultural symbol today. Opening in the Neolithic Age, at the first recorded use of chopsticks, the book surveys their practice through Chinese history, before exploring their transmission in the fifth century to other parts of Asia, including Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Mongolia. Calling upon a striking selection of artwork, the author illustrates how chopstick use has influenced Asian cuisine, and how, in turn the cuisine continues to influence chopstick use, both in Asia and across the globe.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. Why chopsticks? Their origin and original function; 3. Dish, rice or noodle? The changing use of chopsticks; 4. Forming a chopsticks cultural sphere: Vietnam, Japan, Korea and beyond; 5. Using chopsticks: customs, manners and etiquette; 6. A pair inseparable: chopsticks as gift, metaphor and symbol; 7. 'Bridging' food cultures in the world; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.