中国传统文化之饮食文化英文论文Philosophy in Traditional Chinese Catering Culture

Philosophical Thinking in Traditional Chinese Food Culture

Abstract: Food is one of the most important parts in human life. However, in China we regard it not only as a necessity but also a kind of culture. We Chinese have created lots of delicacies. It’s no doubt that food is a kind of art. It’s the accumulation of Chinese traditional culture. And we can learn that our catering is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese philosophy. In turn a lot of philosophy thinking can be found in catering. For instance, the thought of Yin-Yang, the theory that man is an integral part of nature, the theory of Five Elements, food therapy and other thoughts can be seen in Traditional Chinese Catering Culture.

Key Words: Philosophy, Traditional Chinese Catering Culture, traditional Chinese culture

As is known to all, in Chinese people tend to pay special attention to food. Foods are one of those that make continuous reproduction breeding in an endless succession. And at the same time, we Chinese are always relating it to spiritual life. So catering has become an important way for us to explore the meaning of nature as well as human society.

一、The Theory of Yin-Yang and Five Elements in Traditional Chinese Food Culture

The Chinese principle best known to westerners is that of Yin-Yang, a concept applicable to life throughout the Universe. Linguistically, Yin-Yang means respectively, shady and sunny mountain slopes. In a philosophical sense they constitute a dialectic that defines the dynamic between a wide range of opposing pairs, for example, dark and light, wet and dry, male and female, weak and strong, dead and alive.

Chinese believe that reaching to the balance of Yin and Yang is the best state of everything. So foods are no exception. In traditional catering, we identify almost all foods with a property, Yin or Yang. For example, watermelon belongs to Yin, while cayenne pepper belongs to Yang. Wax gourd, cucumber, mung bean, lotus seed are Yin. And leek, ginger, fennel, pepper, pumpkin, onion are in the circle of Yang. So it has become especially for us to eat correct foods at the right time. Whether you should have yin or yang foods depends on the weather as well as your health condition. For instance, in summer, you can have the yin foods, while in winter, you should have some yang foods. And when you feel weak, it’s time for you to take some Yang foods. If you get inflamed, Yin foods will no doubts satisfy your need.

Another theory, five elements, is also known to all. The five elements are metaphors for constantly evolving energy and in some sense symbolize the basic characteristics of matter. The nature of water is to moisten and flow downward; that

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