Food, especially delicious food, has the power to make you happy and provide you a sense of satisfaction. It somehow builds a communication system socially, just like people bonding with each other through language.
What does food really mean to me in my life? Something I cannot get rid of, both physically and spiritually. The passion for food pushes me to dig out some in-depth links between food and me, until I first heard and watched this documentary, A Bite of China. Then I realized that, food is my culture.
A Bite of China is a series of Chinese documentary, involving seven episodes in Season One and eight Episodes in Season Two, which was shot by CCTV (China Central Television) in 2012 and 2014 respectively. It explores three core pieces of connection between food and Chinese people, food and nature, and nature and Chinese people. Season One emphasis more on introducing food production while Season Two more on the role of food played in Chinese people’s lives.
Each episode has an independent topic, associated with several stories of the families from different places. The interaction between people and food becomes a mirror, reflecting a deeper meaning behind the food and the culture value.
So what does Chinese culture value? Before answering this question, two philosophy thoughts need to be discussed, Confucianism and Taoism. They are seen as the foundation of Chinese culture value, which emerged in the ancient China and still have a big impact on the behaviors of Chinese people now. Most of time, these two thoughts are complementary because they all aim to teach people how to live properly. But they show people two different tastes of lives, living in nature (Taoism) and living in society (Confucian).
In the documentary A Bite of China, the representations of these two thoughts can be found everywhere from the food colocation to dining behaviors. It answers what Chinese culture values and explains what makes Chinese become Chinese. Looking through the stories during the whole documentary, one word briefly interprets a feature that shapes Chinese culture, family. China is a family-oriented society. Family concerns are always peoples’ first priority when encountering conflicts of interests.
I was born in this society and influenced by this culture. I, myself, is also a product of this culture. I didn’t choose the culture, the culture chose me. It guides me into the world of food and to explore deeper inside. Food also becomes a channel that bound me up with the outside world, letting me get to know people and their culture. I am glad to find this channel, and through it, I am willing to talk to the world.