須知(1) 本份

此書開宗名義說得很簡單,只有13個字 : 學問之道,先知而後行,飲食亦然。

Learn it by heart, then put it into practice. Cooking and learning follow the same path.

接下來為「本份須知」篇,所謂本份,就是食物在乎純粹、正宗,現今流行的所謂fusion food,應不在袁枚法眼之內。在清朝,所謂異族食物的融合,就是指滿漢。袁枚做大官,頻繁在兩族顯要中做東或宴請,所以對兩族食物必多所了解。他以成語「邯鄲學步」來比喻:

戰國時代趙國的都城在邯郸,據說該城的人走路的姿態很好看,優雅而輕快。有位燕國少年千里而去模倣,甚至刻意忘掉以前自己怎麼走路的,結果不但學不像,連走路的基本功也忘了,只好爬回燕國。比喻模仿他人不到家,反把原來自己會的東西忘了。

換至今日,就是不要冒然去學他人的好,而忘了自己本份。華人請義大利客人,端出青醬pasta, 義大利人請華人,端出榨菜肉絲麵,即使是為了取悅客人,表示認同對方文化,仍不是好主意,因為在細節處理中,仍會失去那種家鄉媽媽的味道,譬如義式九層塔的品種,或中式肉絲的細緻滑潤等。美式漢堡,就是牛肉餅加鹽和黑胡椒;蔥油餅,就是滿口麵粉和青蔥,這樣食物的「本份」,就在於簡單,而顯出其正宗美、純粹美。有些菜的本份在滑潤,有的在乾爽,有的在清香,有的在繁複,各有不同。

(原文)

滿洲菜多燒煮,漢人菜多羹湯,童而習之,故擅長也。漢請滿人,滿請漢人,各用所長之菜,轉覺入口新鮮,不失邯鄲故步。今人忘其本分,而要格外討好。漢請滿人用滿菜,滿請漢人用漢菜,反致依樣葫蘆,有名無實,畫虎不成反類犬矣。

(英譯)

Manchurian cuisine has favored roasted and stewed dishes, while Han cuisine tends to center more on soup-based dishes. Growing up with the taste and culinary practice of their ancestors, each ethnic group is the only spokesperson for their own food culture. Therefore, when Hans and Manchurians play host to each other, it’s wise to showcase their best ethnic dishes for best results. Otherwise, a failed imitating embarrassment like “Han Dan Shue Bu” may occur.

Unfortunately, people have forgotten the principles and are doing the opposite merely to please their guests for the wrong reason. Han hosts serve Manchurian food for the Manchurian guests and Manchurian hosts serve Han food for their Han guests. In so doing, what is served could be only poor imitations at the sacrifice of authenticity, as sorry as an untalented artist whose tiger sketch turns out to be dog-like.

(今人體驗)

若袁枚走在台北街頭,他會選中華路北門附近的老牛肉麵,還是改良式創新牛肉麵?

台北某餐廳推出,旁放刀叉,是西食概念,估且稱之為牛肉義式麵,為跨文化料理fusion food之展現.

如此推崇正宗,難道不要改良創新嗎?不是的,正宗、改良創新各有其美感及追隨者,不相衝突。開發新口味永遠有無窮可能性,否則台北牛肉麵節就不必辦了。

但有些食物是不必改良或融合的,它有其古典、莊嚴及神聖性,只能就老原則做到極緻,冒然去改就是「邯鄲學步」。譬如美國西部最有名的漢堡店In and Out, 就是克盡牛肉餅本份,找最新鮮的牛肉來做,沒有其他花樣,但若有人覺得美式漢堡單調,要「豐富它的層次」,混進一些馬鈴薯、豬肉、五香粉什麼的,老美會生氣的,因為老美對美式漢堡驕傲且滿意,不喜歡有人來說三道四。同樣的,若有人,即使是米其林名廚來改良我們的水餃,我們也會不悅,不是嗎?

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