Lunch in the harem

  After drinking tea, the queen mother asked us to follow her to another room, where the lunch table was ready. I thought to myself that the queen mother had already eaten a lot just now, so I don’t know if I can still eat lunch.
  However, the answer will soon be in front of you. As soon as the queen mother entered the room, she ordered the female officials and the eunuchs to remove the lids of all the cutlery. She took the upper seat and let us stand under the table. The queen mother told us: “Originally, according to the past habits, after watching the play, the emperor wanted to have lunch with me, but his character is relatively shy, and you are only the first acquaintance, so I don’t know what to do. Come to lunch. I really hope he can overcome his shyness in the future. Today, the three of you will accompany me to lunch.”
  As mentioned earlier, of course we knew that this was a great grace, so we knelt down and kowtowed together. thanks. The so-called kowtow thank you is to bend your back and touch your head to the ground. This action made us very tired and dizzy at first, and then we slowly got used to it.
  We started having lunch together. The queen mother ordered the eunuch to distribute plates for us, and prepared silver chopsticks, spoons, etc. for us. She said: “I’m sorry to ask you to stand to eat, but in any case, I can’t break the rules set by my ancestors. Even if the queen eats in front of me, she must stand. In fact, I also know that if a foreign country People know that I let the court ladies stand to eat, and they will laugh at us as barbarians. Of course I don’t want them to take all our court etiquette in their eyes. You will slowly see me perform in front of foreigners. How hard it is, of course I also have my own considerations, that is, I must not let them all understand the rules of the palace.” When the
  queen mother was talking to my mother, I kept my eyes on her. She ate so many sweets and dried fruits in the bedroom just now, but now she has eaten a lot of food dishes. The appetite is huge, the appetite is strong, and the speed of eating is astounding. I was very surprised after reading it.
  When it comes to dishes, beef is listed as fasting in the palace, because traditional Chinese ideology believes that slaughtering or eating such animals that have made great contributions to people’s lives is a sinful sin and must be sacrificed after death. hell. The dishes in the palace mainly include poultry and vegetables such as pork, mutton, game, chicken, duck and geese.
  For this lunch we had pork cooked in ten different ways, including meatballs, cuts – cuts of meat are divided into two types: red and white, the red cut is cooked in a special bean paste It is ruddy in color, fragrant, and tastes great. In addition, there are fried shredded pork with bamboo shoots, roasted pork cubes with cherry and fried pork slices with onions. The dish of fried pork slices with onions is very much loved by the Queen Mother. I have to admit that after eating it, I feel that this dish is indeed very delicious. In addition, there are fried pancakes with pork, eggs and mushrooms as fillings; there are also pork cabbage, radish stew and so on. Those chicken and lamb dishes are also cooked in different ways.
  More conspicuous is a large bowl placed in the middle of the table. Like the other bowls, it is golden yellow and has a diameter of two feet. This large bowl contains a refreshing shark fin casserole, and lies a chicken and a duck. Shark fin is a highly regarded and valuable food in China, and ordinary people have no chance to see it.
  In addition to this, there are roast chicken, deboned chicken and roast duck on the table. The chicken and duck are filled with pine branches, and after they are baked on the oven, the fragrance of pine oil is exuded.
  There is also a dish that Empress Dowager Cixi liked very much. The method is to cut the pork skin into small squares and bake them. The pork skin is browned, crispy and tender, slightly curled, like the color and shape of marinated bacon. The aroma is fragrant, the outside is crispy and the inside is tender, and the taste is extremely layered.
  It is worth mentioning that the living habits of the Manchu people are also very unique. They rarely eat rice and love to eat a wide variety of pasta. During our one day in the palace, we ate all kinds of pasta in different ways, such as baked, steamed, fried, etc. Some had sugar, some had salt and pepper, and one had Sweet filling. These pasta are also made into various shapes, all of which are made into different imaginative shapes with different molds, such as dragons, butterflies, flowers, etc., which are beautiful and interesting. We also ate all kinds of different kinds of kimchi, which are also the favorite things of the Empress Dowager Cixi. There are also some red bean cakes and mung bean cakes embedded in cakes and dipped in sugar juice. time, people are very full.
  During the meal, although the Queen Mother repeatedly invited us to eat more, I still didn’t eat much, because I kept focusing on observing the Queen Mother’s every move and listening to her words. In addition to the food items I mentioned above, we also had a variety of porridge, some cooked with sweet corn, some yellow millet porridge. The queen mother told us that after eating meat dishes, we should finish all these porridges, which is more conducive to nourishing the stomach and health. We are convinced of her words.
  After we finished our lunch, the Queen Mother stood up and said to us, “Go to my lounge together, and let the Queen and the ladies come in to eat. They always eat after I finish eating.” Everyone followed the Queen Mother. Walking out, I consciously stood between the two doors, and saw the queen and the ladies came in, gathered around the table, and ate very quietly. According to court etiquette, they are not allowed to sit down to eat.