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Authentic Confucious, The

by: Annping Chin

New York NY: Scribner 2007, $26.00, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-0-7432-4618-7

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 2008 Issue: 15(2) page(s): 25 and 26

Well-researched, this book is about the teachings of China's "Sage for Ten-thousand Generations." In eight numbered chapters and three others, Prologue, Introduction, and Epilogue, it talks of Confucius' teachings and his life. We found the seventh chapter, The Rites of Life and Death, the most fascinating. It was the one that mentioned the oft-quoted information about his thoughts on rice, etc. It says someone observed him when taking meals and that: "Confucius did not mind if the rice was polished or the meat was finely minced. He did not eat rice that had gone off, nor fish or meat that had spoiled. He did not eat food with a sickly color or a foul odor, nor anything overcooked or undercooked. He did not eat food that was not in season nor did he eat except at mealtimes. He did not eat meat that was not properly cut up or meat paired with the wrong sauce."

Despite these and other thoughts, Confucius was not an epicure. The book delves a bit into why he rejected meat not properly cut up or paired with the wrong sauce. Ms. Chin explores this and other notions attributed to this sage. One such is that he would not eat meat if kept beyond three days, did not care for dried meat bought from a shop, and abstained from meat and rice when in mourning.

Read more about these and other culinary and political information bits. They were gleaned from the author's years of studying ancient texts. They provide much thought and a wonderful look at the man and his times.

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