Daily thoughts on aesthetics and theology, and the entire world in between.

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Peking duck and seeing and tasting

You first order the duck; usually a half or a whole. Order the whole if your party is more than 2.

At a better than average restaurant, the chef wheels the roasted whole duck to your table and carves it in front of you. He is usually accompanied by a small troupe of young waitresses, placing dishes of the crispy pieces on the table.

You then wrap the pieces into a doughy crepe, along with black bean paste, scallions, and a variety of other fresh condiments.

Peking Duck.

And for any civilized Chinese meal, this would just be one of several dishes you must of course order. But WAIT!

Would you like the chef to make a soup for you from the remains of the duck? Why yes! Usually the soup comes last; no extra charge.

Chinese food is an exercise in tasting and seeing.

Not only tasting -- which is enough in a pinch -- but tasting and seeing. I would say it is a peculiar feature of many of the cuisines of the world. Tasting and seeing.

You can taste very quickly. But to taste and see, you'll need to slow down. The meal cannot be a quick pit-stop you make while on your way to something else.

The meal is the something else.

The whole experience must be played out over a good stretch of time if you are to get your fill of tasting and seeing.

American cuisine -- and usually you don't come across the words "American" and "cuisine" side-by-side -- American cuisine is somewhat weak on the seeing part. That's because we always think we've got other places to go and other people to see.

This affects how we understand this:

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

This sentence was not written by an American, but by someone from one of those cultures with a cuisine.


Psalm 34.8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.


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