Swallowing Clouds: A Playful Journey through Chinese Culture, Language, and Cuisine

Paperback | October 20, 2014

byAnthony ZeeAfterword byLinda Rui Feng

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Physics professor Zee writes about how to understand the menus in Chinese restaurants, explaining the characters, what they mean, and the colorful stories behind the names of various dishes. Anne Tyler (in the Washington Post) called Swallowing Clouds "a study of the very nature of Chinese culture. Zee has a quirky, personal style that draws the reader in."

Replaces ISBN 9780295981918

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Physics professor Zee writes about how to understand the menus in Chinese restaurants, explaining the characters, what they mean, and the colorful stories behind the names of various dishes. Anne Tyler (in the Washington Post) called Swallowing Clouds "a study of the very nature of Chinese culture. Zee has a quirky, personal style th...

A. Zee is professor of theoretical physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of Fearful Symmetry: The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics and An Old Man’s Toy: Gravity at Work and Play in Einstein’s Universe.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:386 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.95 inPublished:October 20, 2014Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295994207

ISBN - 13:9780295994208

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

PrefaceTime LineA Word about PronunciationIntroduction

Beijing Men Built a FireSlicing through Water

Interlude 1: Phonetics, or Why Some Characters Look Horribly Complicated

Sleep of the Truly InebriatedSwallowing CloudsChinese Pigs Stand

Interlude 2: The Appalling Ignorance of Some Scribes

A Delicacy for Aging MenNo Contest between Fish and a Bear with Eight LegsCourtesans Do Not Eat Crabs

Interlude 3: To All You Carnivores

The Sweet Fragrance of Crops RipeningHow to Avoid Being VulgarThe Pockmarked Woman and the Pearly Empress

Interlude 4: Words Are Like Our Children

Buddha Jumping over WallsAct without Acting, Taste without Tasting

Interlude 5: Like Eating Potato Chips

The Sublime Faith in IllusionsPieces of Her HeartElixirs and the Food of HealthFrom Banquets to Voyages of Discovery

Epilogue: All Banquets Must Come to an End

Afterword by Linda Rui Feng

Appendix A. How to Exercise Your Arm and Throat while DrinkingAppendix B. A Few RecipesNotesBibliographyTable of DynastiesTable of Some Common Radicals Used in this BookTable of Characters and Radicals Cited by ChapterAcknowledgmentsA Final Note

Editorial Reviews

Physics professor Zee writes about how to understand the menus in Chinese restaurants, explaining the characters, what they mean, and the colorful stories behind the names of various dishes. Anne Tyler (in the Washington Post) called Swallowing Clouds "a study of the very nature of Chinese culture. Zee has a quirky, personal style that draws the reader in."Replaces ISBN 9780295981918A delightful and rewarding book for anybody.... For the even mildly curious, Swallowing Clouds is almost essential foreplay, not just to one but to a lifetime of good Chinese meals. - James Barber, The Urban Peasant