Showing posts from December, 2016

Su Dongpo Is A Tease

Last time, I translated a mead recipe from Zhang Bangji, which he claimed was the one Su Dongpo used and wrote poems about.  Apparently unbeknownst to Zhang Bangji, but knownst to us, Su Dongpo wrote a huge book of literary spew where he talked about random topics, Dongpo's Forest of Footnotes.  One of those footnotes, the twelfth entry on scroll eight, is about mead.

This is a received text, a scan of an 18th century copy made during an attempt to catalog and reproduce every book ever written, which means that there's no punctuation since it hadn't become popular in China yet.  I'm going to lean a bit on the punctuation from the blog post that led me to this text, but the blog post was missing some phrases so I've taken a more rigorous crack at translating it than I did in my first blog post.

予作蜜酒格與真水亂 My method for mead: stir together in pure water: 每米一斗用蒸餅麵二兩半餅子一兩半如常法取醅液 For every dou of grain, 2.5 liang of steam-cake flour, and “cake seeds” 1.5 liang just like the …

A Mead Recipe

Recently, I posted about my search for a Chinese mead recipe, and some potential leads.

Today, I cracked open the English-language textbook on Chinese food and beverage production, Science and Civilisation in China Volume 6 Biology and Biological Technology Part V: Fermentation and Food Science, and it contains a section on mead (page 246)!

It backs up my research so far, although it doesn't include the really early archaeological finds because they were excavated after it was published.  There are a few mentions of honey used for various things in the classical period, but it isn't until the Tang dynasty in about 650 that we start to see references to mead.

The Song dynasty author Zhang Bangji (張邦基) recorded in his book Random Notes from the Scholar's Cottage (《墨莊漫錄》) what he claims is Su Dongpo's recipe for the mead mentioned in the poem I translated last time.  Science and Civilisation has a translation, but I decided to make my own before I read theirs.  It's i…