Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Been reading one of the books Samuel Lamb gave me. He has it figured out that the original Garden of Eden was in what is now Sichuan Province. For those of you who are not Chinese, the word "Sichuan" means "four rivers," so that proves it. Actually, he did present a few more arguments, all of them interesting. But somehow, I just can't picture Adam and Eve feasting on a Sichuan hotpot. Or sipping tea under the gazebo by the river. Or playing Majong in the streets of Chengdu.

What can I say? Sichuan is Sichuan, and there is only one Sichuan. One out of every 50 people in the world live in Sichuan Province. Sichuan Province is, of course, the home of the famed "Sichuan Hotpot," although the hotpot actually hails from Chongqing, which is now a separate admistrative region, and not politically (although still culturally) part of Sichuan Province. Many do not realize that the Chongqing Hotpot originated in the early part of the 20th Century when longshoreman and boatmen along the Yangtze River would buy the cheap refuse from the slaughter houses nearby, and cook it in small pot as they huddled together in the cold, damp winter.

The hotpot has grown up now. The choice of meats now includes more than just cow guts. But I had some of those boiled cow guts last summer when I was in Chengdu. It's actually pretty good stuff. But maybe I'm just saying that because it was so spicy that I couldn't really taste it.

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