戒單(3)中看不中吃

滿漢全席是最經典的目食,照相留念其實就是它最大的意義。好在它本是民間誇張之詞,又經相聲藝術家做成段子,連唸100道菜名,更增神秘。這道名宴至今算是失傳了。圖為香港某餐館在1977年重現此席的照片。

八十年代大陸剛開放,派出一團到美國做飲食文化交流,在矽谷某餐館擺出「滿漢全席」。我應邀參加,只記得桌上琳琅滿目(大約20-30道菜),就算主人說得來其中名堂,客人也來不及聽,唯一記得的就是許多盤滿式小點心。讀到此篇,才懂何為「食前方丈」。而且,我真的像袁老一樣,回家仍感餓。

另外談到廚房一天能做四、五道好菜就費盡心力,何能一次擺出幾十種?這也是心疼廚子的表現。另外菜過多,碗盤雜陳,油跡處處,連眼睛都受不了啦!

戒單:目食

何謂目食?目食者,貪多之謂也。今人慕「食前方丈」(1)之名,多盤疊碗,是以目食,非口食也。不知名手寫字,多則必有敗筆;名人作詩,煩則必有累句。極名廚之心力,一日之中,所作好菜不過四五味耳,尚難拿準,況拉雜橫陳乎?就使幫助多人,亦各有意見,全無紀律,愈多愈壞。余嘗過一商家,上菜三撤席,點心十六道,共算食品將至四十餘種。主人自覺欣欣得意,而我散席還家,仍煮粥充饑。可想見其席之豐而不潔矣。南朝孔琳之曰︰「今人好用多品,適口之外,皆為悅目之資。」余以為餚饌橫陳,燻蒸腥穢,目亦無可悅也。

What is an “eye meal”? A meal with so many courses that dazzle the eye. Today, people covet the status of seeing “food occupying ten square meters” with plates and bowls on top of each other. It is a show for the eye, not for the tongue.


We must bear in mind that even famed calligraphers, while working long hours, could incur embarrassing strokes; renowned writers, while at the peak of their creativity, could produce redundant verses. For the top-rated chefs, serving four to five successful plates in one day  would easily consume all their energy, all the while their “successes” can still be up for critique. Then what can be of mediocre chefs? 

More kitchen hands could work in reverse if they are given too much freedom to speak up and lack discipline. In  this case, the more hands, the worse. I’ve been in a restaurant which boasts of “three full courses and sixteen appetizers”, more than forty plates all together. The restaurant owner was very proud of the flood of food, but somehow I still came home hungry and not until I fed myself with a bowl of congee did I feel full and satisfied. What an abundant but unwholesome feast  I must have had!

Sir Kung in the Southern Dynasty has said, “People today like to present numerous foods in one meal. While a few offer true pleasure to the palate, the rest of them are merely a feast for the eye.” But in my humble opinion, plates and bowls in disarray, food stains and sticky grease everywhere are not what I consider as a feast for the eye. 

今人體驗

我的目食體驗發生在大陸某購物中心的一處烤肉店內,門外擺滿紅通通的各式肉片: 肋眼、牛小排、紐約、丁骨、菲力、沙朗等二十來種,十分壯觀。初看我已得了「選擇恐慌症」,若不是有人請客,我是不會進去的。

上桌後服務非常好,侍者拿著電子筆記,仔細詢問要什麼部位,要多熟,沾什麼醬等。人人莫不充滿期待,眼睛發光。只是肉品拿來,不管什麼部位,味道、口感都一樣,著實讓人失望。其實,牛排部位選前五名就好,排到二十名的又何必吃呢?不過從該店生意看來,「目食」還是有吸引力,尤其在人潮洶湧的地方。

世界觀

西餐較少有目食現象,應和中西方用餐方式不同有關。西餐一長桌,分食、菜一道一道上,服務員多,桌上禮儀又繁瑣,菜式太多,沒吃飽大夥先累倒,所以西菜七道式就相當不錯了( 指食、 湯、開胃菜、沙拉、主菜、甜點,飲料)。再說西餐裡有兩主菜就算講究,但中餐幾乎道道都是主菜。

然而法式甜點對我而言就是「目食」。我先在美國越南店見到,各色俱全,妝點繁複,心想,這怎麼吃啊?後來到法短期居住,發現社區點心店裡的貨色更漂亮,每次我東選西選,還是選可頌。事實上,世界風行的法式糕餅如可頌(croissant)、 馬卡龍(macaroon)、瑪德琳(madeleine)、焦糖布丁(cream brulee)都是外觀比較樸素的。

註解
  1. 食物擺滿一丈見方那麼廣。形容生活非常奢侈。《孟子.盡心下》:「食前方丈,侍妾數百人,我得志弗為也。」

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: