The Quest for a Perfect Balance
This article discusses about the history of China. It does this by giving an analysis of the cultural practices of the people of China especially during the ancient periods. To begin with, it reports on the role of food in the day to day lives of these people. As an integral part of the Chinese culture, food was greatly valued. They strongly believed in food to the extent that they used, ‘have you eaten’ when greeting one another. Thus, it was the responsibility of everyone to ensure that they acquire, prepare and eat enough food.
Besides, diet was emphasized as basic thing which all the Chinese were encouraged to adopt a proper eating habit. Meaning, before eating, it was essential to make the right choice of the meals, their ingredients and the recommended quantities to consume. This was practiced since the Chinese believed that a good diet was necessary for a good health and longevity. The choice of food was valued because it directly influenced people. Individuals were regarded as products of the kind of food they consumed. Later, this practice was advanced by Confucius, one of the greatest teachers in China.
The other important aspect of Chinese culture presented in this article is cooking. It was a very important term which had both a superficial and symbolic meanings to the people of China. First and foremost, every person was required to possess culinary skills. It would not only grant them respect, but earn them political appointments. For instance, Yi Yin was given a ministerial portfolio by King Tang because of his excellent culinary skills. On the other hand, the government was supposed to be a good ‘cook.’ Meaning, it was to be responsible for the welfare of the citizens. This explains why they had to ensure food security at all the times. In fact, it was manifested in the Chinese saying, ‘Governing is like cooking a small fish.’ Just like the cooking of a small fish, it is very delicate to rule and satisfy the diverse needs of the public.
Finally, although the Chinese derived a lot of pleasure from food, it was a policy that people had to eat responsibly. In order for people to be civilized, they had to be properly ‘cooked.’ In other words, they had to adopt recommended virtues and condemn vices such as gluttony. Otherwise, they would be raw and of no value to the society. This explains why Confucius urged them to eat sparingly and be of benevolent to others in order to achieve a full morality.