Chu Yuan, a great patriotic poet, was an official serving beneath one
of seven warlords in China's third century B.C. After the
warlord and his successor son both failed to heed Chu Yuan's political
advice, the people's land fell into the hands of a warlord from whom
the people had to run for their lives. Loyal Chu Yuan would not
run. Nor could he stand to see the people hurt. He drowned
himself in the Mi-Lo River. His parents, who dreamt that fish
were eating his body, went down to the banks of the river and threw in
Zhong Zi, meat and rice packages wrapped in bamboo leaves. This
gave the fish something else to eat. In memory of Chu Yuan,
on every fifth day of the fifth month, the Chinese hold dragon boat
races and eat Zhong Zi.
Most cultures around the world utilize leaves and leaf-like vegetables to contain food traditionally or ceremonially. More than thirty different types of leaves are used in this manner. Local leaves are handy packaging materials that impart subtle, distinct flavors to the savory morsels they envelop. Fortunately, where fresh leaves are unavailable, dried or frozen equivalents can usually be found.
Chu Yuan flanked by Zhong Zi
"A book with legends and folklore from the regions where the leaves are grown and used in recipes."
Many Americans have mouth-watering reminiscences of traditional ethnic foods, often without memory of how they're prepared. A surprising number of these foods are cooked in leaves or parts of vegetables which function like leaves, such as cornhusks. They encase appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. They range in familiarity from cabbage to bamboo leaves.
If you enjoy preparing exotic meals, you'll love
Cooking In Leaves
Karen Albright Lin
Karen Albright Lin
|"The first book to capture the creation and presentation of a wide variety of these traditional foods."
Karen is an amateur food historian, in-home cooking instructor, and former weight loss counselor. She traveled extensively in the course of writing this literary cookbook. To learn more about Karen's food and travel writing click here.