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Showing posts from April 9, 2015

I'm translating a book!

Picking this blog back up after a looong time...

One of my brewing interests is historical alcohol.  I got pretty inspired by Magnus Hvalmagi's blog investigating viking-era Norse beer, which I had a swing at and was delicious, and between that and my interests in Chinese, I've been looking for alcohol recipes in old texts for a while.

How I found this is a story for another time, but I came across the Qimin Yaoshu (齊民要術), a sixth-century CE farm manual whose name means something like
"essential techniques for the welfare of the people."  It's pretty long, and is cut into about 10 scrolls, which have about 8 or so "chapters" each.  Each chapter has a title, but I think the scroll divisions are arbitrary.  The best part is that the entire text is available on wikisource.

It's pretty easy to read using my weak knowledge of literary Chinese and the dictionaries I have access to, I think mostly because it's a pretty dry technical manual and isn'…