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Foods and Culinary Utensils of the Ancients

Chicken with the Liquor of Fermented Rice

_Chicken with the Liquor of Fermented Rice._

Bone a chicken and steam until just right; take out and let cool, then cut into thin slices. Next, take gelatinous rice which has been fermented with yeast and water; cook this for two hours, add a little of the juice expressed from fresh ginger, soy, sesamum and oil. Mix together with peanut oil. Dish and add fragrant herbs.

_Genii Ducks._

Take a fat duck; open and clean. Take two mace of salt, rub it both outside and inside and put into an earthen dish. Take one cup of fan spirits and put (the cup with the spirits) inside the duck--only the vapor of the spirits is wanted. Steam over water until quite tender, then lift out the wine cup and put the bird into a bowl.

The most common native liquor are "suee chow," a rice brandy; "shas chin," an impure alcohol made from kauliang or sorghum; "huary chin," a yellow wine made from millet, and various spirits extracted from plums, apples, pears, etc. All liquors are drunk hot, and some of them are steeped with spices or the leaves of flowers.

Although spirits are plentiful and cheap, drunkenness is rare.

Tea, of course, is consumed by all classes.

A curious custom annually observed is

the propitiatory offering to the God of the Kitchen, who is worshipped in all parts of China, and who is supposed to report his observations to the Pearly Emperor Supreme Ruler.

[Illustration: Family Offering to the Kitchen God.]

He is represented in each kitchen by a slip of white or red paper (changed each year as a rule) bearing his name and title and sometimes his portrait, pasted on the wall in some convenient part of the room.

Among the better classes the kitchen god is also known as the superintendent or inspector of good and evil.

On the evening of the twenty-third day of the twelfth month a special sacrifice is made in his honor by about sixty per cent. of the population. Meats, cakes, fruits and wines are offered with candles, incense, mock money, etc., and all members of the family then kneel reverently before his representation and bow their heads in homage.

On the evening of the twenty-fourth those who have not participated in the ceremonies of the previous day, make a vegetable offering in a similar manner.

[Illustration: A Chinese kitchen boat.]

Many of the wealthier classes make both offerings on the twenty-third. The poorest use only incense and candles.

The numerous sailing vessels on the rivers and lakes are as well fitted to supply the wants of the traveler as the hotels on shore.

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