Shu Hsi on dumplings
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
Shu Hsi (ca. 264-ca. 304) was one of the most learned men of his day. He held numerous positions, including: Gentlemen Compiler and Erudite, principal editor of the ancient texts written on bamboo slips discovered in an old Chou dynasty tomb. He is the author of the “Rhapsody on ping” or “Rhapsody on Pasta”, where he includes this paragraph about dumplings:
With the fire blazing the broth bubbles;
Strong fumes rise as steam.
Straightening his jacket, straightening his skirt,
The cook grasps and presses, beats and pounds.
With flour webbed to his finger tips,
His hands whirl and twirl, crossing back and forth.
Flurrying and fluttering, fast and furious,
The balls scatter like stars, pelt like hail.
There is no meat stuck to the steamer,
There is no loose flour on the dumplings.
Lovely and pleasing, mouth-watering,
The wrapping is thin but it does not break.
Rich flavors are blended within;
A plump aspect appears without.
They are as tender as spring floss,
As white as autumn silk".
Knechtges, D. (1986, Jan-Mar). A Literary Feast: Food in Early Chinese Literature. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 106(1), 49-63.