After many weeks of more Western cuisine, we’ve moved on to a new region, and with that, a new time period. The Yellow River, is home to one of the two locations for Neolithic China. This comes with the ability to eat different foods that were domesticated in that region, such as Rice, Millet, Pork and Poultry. This gave us a bit more to work with than usual, while also being rather hampering.
As we’ve mentioned in the past, a lot of the traditional foods we think of in Eastern cultures, relies on many ingredients that are not native to it. These include foods like: Garlic, Ginger, Sesame Seed Oil, Chiles and Peanuts. This means we have to be creative, while still wanting to honor what that region can provide.
With this, we designed a recipe derived from other Pork roasted in Plum Sauce, served with steamed cabbage.
So, why don’t we use some of these ingredients?
So normally in these post, I give a history of the area we are looking at and how that may affect the foods we chose to make.
However, this week I have decided to do something different.
I want to look at the food stuffs we chose not to use. With our world being so interconnected now; it can be hard to remember that we all were once very isolated from one another and only through trade routes did our local ideas, traditions, religions, and foods start to make their way around the world.
When we first started to farm during the Neolithic; we cultivated the foods that were found in our local areas. Regardless, the foods that where cultivated in one area of the world may not have been present in another. This is the case for many foods that we eat today.
Many of the foods that are culturally or are stereotyped to a culture today have origins away from their location; for example the potato and Ireland. The potato was brought back to Europe only after the colonization of South America after the 1500’s by Spain, France and Portugal. However, the potato was not the only thing that was brought back to Europe by these countries.
In Chinese cooking; the chili pepper is used in several modern dishes. Nevertheless, the chili pepper was domesticated on the other side of the world in East Central Mexico. So, to stay as true to the nature of this blog as possible; we omit foods that the regions we look at, wouldn’t have had access to during the time period we are looking at.
This often leads to what we would see as today a bland meal that doesn’t have any of the ingredients that we believe it should have in them. However, that is one of the things that makes this fun. It is trying to see what we can make and maybe taste the foods the way they would have tasted them.
One of the great things about our world being so interconnected now is that we do get to experience foods like our ancestors never got to. This brings up a great point about the way we eat food today. Food today is seen to most of us as a given. We just go to the grocery store and we have an endless amount of options to choose from.
However for our ancestors; food was a means of survival and even if the dishes were not what we would see as satisfying; it would have meet the basic need of survival.
Pork Roasted in Plum Sauce
4 out of 5 stars
I found this meal really delicious. I was originally worried it was going to come off very bland, but instead, I felt as if it was rich with complex tastes and interesting textures.
4 out of 5 stars
The meal was more flavourful than what we have recently made. The pork was kind of on the dryer side, but that was probably due to how it was cooked. The Sichuan Red Pepper was very flavorful. It added a kind of sweet and bitter taste for me. I wasn’t a large fan of the plum sauce; it was too sweet for my liking. Overall, I would make it all again.