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Sui Yuan Book Awards

by Si Wang


Spring Volume: 2019 Issue: 26(1) page(s): 35

At the 8th Asian Food Conference in Beijing October 2018, there were forty serious books published in China about that country’s food studies. Selected by the Awards Committee of three professors and five young scholars who received their Doctorates recently, they did focus on Chinese Food Studies. These awards were from about one thousand books about Chinese food history and food culture. In upcoming years, one book will be selected annually from those published the previous year.

Why this number and name of Sui Yuan? Forty is the number of years since the opening of China. The Committee named them the Sui Yuan Awards as that was the name of Yuan Mei’s garden at his home. Yuan Mei’s book is known by culinary folk world-wide, and until now was only translated into German, French, Japanese, Korean, and Italian. However, recently it was translated into English by Sean Chen, a Chinese scholar and published in this bi-lingual edition. Yuan Mei’s book is known by chefs, China scholars, linguists, historians, and anthropologists. His contributions are now celebrated on his birthday, March 25th and that is called International Chinese Food Day.

Flavor and Fortune wrote about Yuan Mei’s book in several issues including in Volumes 14(4), 16(3), 17(1), and in the previous or ninety-ninth issue. He is referred to as China’s Brilliat-Savarin. Now English readers can enjoy and learn from this The Garden of Contentment: Yuan Mei’s Manual of Gastronomy in this newest translation. Located by E. N. Anderson, a historical anthropologist on Sean Chen, the translators blog, Anderson had help from Jeffrey Riegal, a Chinese literature professor and Nicole Mones, a writer about Chinese food. This bilingual edition was published in 2018 by Berkshire Publishing of Great Barrington MA. Due to space and eye limitations, the forty books will be listed in this magazine’s next issue.

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