Tofu cannot be rushed

Philip Gostelow @ Asia Literary Review/

Liao Yiwu reflects on food and corruption in China @ Asia Literary ReviewWe, the people of Chengdu, love to eat. Food is more important than life itself. Su Dongpo certainly thought so.The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom UpA famous son of Sichuan who left his mark on the Song Dynasty as a writer, poet, artist and statesman, he made his real contribution after his political enemies turned the emperor against him and he was banished to Hubei in 1081. There poverty forced him to live close to the land and from that experience came some of his finest poems. Despite his dire circumstances he spent time perfecting his Dongpo pork shoulders recipe. Few today can recite his poetry, but no one can forget the smell and taste of that original dish. My grandpa told me how, in the 1930s, when warlords were battling for control of Chengdu, and artillery fell on the Huangchengba area, deluging streets with debris as houses collapsed, customers in a packed mapo tofu restaurant watched the bedlam creep closer as they waited for their meals, urging the chef to hurry so they might take shelter. The chef maintained his steady pace in the open kitchen, responding, “Mapo tofu cannot be rushed; that would ruin my reputation.” read more