386 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Nov 2014
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Swallowing Clouds

A Playful Journey through Chinese Culture, Language, and Cuisine

By A. Zee; Afterword by Linda Rui Feng
University of Washington Press
Physics professor Zee writes about how to understand the menus inChinese restaurants, explaining the characters, what they mean, and thecolorful stories behind the names of various dishes. Anne Tyler (in theWashington Post) called Swallowing Clouds "astudy of the very nature of Chinese culture. Zee has a quirky, personalstyle that draws the reader in.
A. Zee is professor of theoretical physics at theUniversity of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of FearfulSymmetry: The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics and An OldMan's Toy: Gravity at Work and Play in Einstein'sUniverse.


Time Line

A Word about Pronunciation


Beijing Men Built a Fire

Slicing through Water

Interlude 1: Phonetics, or Why Some Characters Look HorriblyComplicated

Sleep of the Truly Inebriated

Swallowing Clouds

Chinese Pigs Stand

Interlude 2: The Appalling Ignorance of Some Scribes

A Delicacy for Aging Men

No Contest between Fish and a Bear with Eight Legs

Courtesans Do Not Eat Crabs

Interlude 3: To All You Carnivores

The Sweet Fragrance of Crops Ripening

How to Avoid Being Vulgar

The Pockmarked Woman and the Pearly Empress

Interlude 4: Words Are Like Our Children

Buddha Jumping over Walls

Act without Acting, Taste without Tasting

Interlude 5: Like Eating Potato Chips

The Sublime Faith in Illusions

Pieces of Her Heart

Elixirs and the Food of Health

From Banquets to Voyages of Discovery

Epilogue: All Banquets Must Come to an End

Afterword by Linda Rui Feng

Appendix A. How to Exercise Your Arm and Throat while Drinking

Appendix B. A Few Recipes



Table of Dynasties

Table of Some Common Radicals Used in this Book

Table of Characters and Radicals Cited by Chapter


A Final Note

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