Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

What smell is this, so strong and good?

December 28, 2005

Shih ching, in C. Birch and D. Keene (eds.) Anthology of Chinese Literature (1965), pb 1967 pp. 37-8.

High we load the stands,
The stands of wood and earthenware.
As soon as the smell rises
God on high is very pleased:
‘What smell is this, so strong and good?’

A text from the Shih ching, (Book of Songs), a collection of traditional ballads and fragments gathered after 600 BCE describing the life of the warrior farmers of the north western highlands of Shanxi (Shensi). This text is being quoted nowadays on websites hocking everything from garlic to hemp.

image: a closeup of kale farci

debra at 13:52 | | post to


  1. i have often wondered where that smell comes from,
    having spent time in china, its a smell at every market, you even get it in chinatown’s world over, but i am never quite sure which veg or combination of vegetables or what else it is.
    Anyone know?

    Comment by tom — January 9, 2007 @ 16:31

  2. does anyone know the smell of the chinese food market, the same all over china and chinatowns world over, which vegatable/combination of vegetables/spices is it?

    Comment by tom — February 5, 2007 @ 11:47

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