This paper investigates the role and culture of shellfish in the dietary culture of people living south of the Yangtze during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is divided into two parts. In the first part, shellfish products from the Yangtze were classified and their roles and characteristics were discussed in terms of the cooking style and food tasting culture. When the cooking style changes, the traditional dining mode of a regular three meals will progressively head towards dining with randomness, sophistication and freedom; this in fact relates to the dining development from the ”routine” to the ”non-routine”. Secondly, the food tasting culture represents the interaction between these foods and consumers. When food departs from the ”routine” dining mode, it represents the diversification of emotional interactions among people or groups. In the second part, specific shellfish products are used as examples to discuss the spread of food concepts, which not only relies on recipes or words of mouth, but also on gentry culture which may influence people's view on food. For example, the comment on scallops by the great scholar Su Dongpo in the northern Song dynasty has continuously influenced our perspectives of this particular food, and this is discussed in a separate section.
- food culture
- Su Shi