Noodles in Chicken Broth (Qiulun Li)

When my father cooked noodles steeped in chicken broth,

He would boil chicken in soup.

He would pour the broth into a bowl.

With a light feather he would brush the flour.

He kneaded the dough to the right consistency.

Then he would drop it into the water

In long strings

Slim like spring silk.

In half a bowl of broth,

He would gulp them down all at once.

After two bowls in a row,

A fullness would come to the heart.

What piece did you choose to imitate?

I choose to imitate the poem Noodles in Broth written by Hong Junju, and I call my own creative piece Noodles in Chicken Broth.

 Why did you choose this piece?

I choose to imitate this piece because this piece is my favorite one among all poems and stories assigned for reading. It is a very short poem and easily understandable. It described the process of making bing in tea and the way the poet and his friends eated it vividly. With this poem, I can easily imagine the artistry process of making bing and feelings of poets and his friends after eating. I recalled that my father always cooked noodles in chicken broth at home, and that is one of my favorite home-making food. Thus, I want to record the process how my father cooks noodles for me through imitating the poem from Hong Junju.

What did you learn about the culture of the original author through imitating his or her style?

Through imitating the poem from Hong Junju I was surprised how concise and vivid this poem is. He presented the whole process how chief Cui made bing steeped in tea in a few sentence. However, the actual process of making bing is very slow and complicated. The use of metaphor in the poem make the shape of noodles vividly out of the paper. Through a very concise description of the process, reader can have an overall image of making noodles, and then the author expressed his feelings through his actions vividly described in the poem. Through the words, he presented eating noodles as a very pleasurable process. At all, I can realize how important is noodles in ancient China and people’s feelings towards it while I am imitating this piece.

What did you learn about your own culture while writing?

Since ancient China when noodles first appeared, it has become the staple food of families and had different cultural significance. In my hometown, eating noodles has become a ritual when the whole family gathers together. My family always have noodles at home since it has become a sign of union and also it is not hard to cook at home. Every time after my family has chicken soup, my father will cook noodles in the chicken broth left with some vegetables. In my mind, noodles in chicken soup cooked by my father could represent the taste of my family’s home cooking.

Is there cultural DNA embedded in the piece you read and in your piece? How does this DNA manifest in the texts?

Both the poem by Hong Junju and my piece expressed the importance of noodles and presented the process of eating noodles as a pleasurable process. Through the vivid description of making noodles in both texts, for example “filter the tea infusion through silk”, “kneaded the dough to the right consistency” and “slim like a spring silk”, reader could feel that making noodles is a very careful process and people paid a lot of attention to this process. Thus, the texts implied that that making noodles is a very important process and needs a lot of attention. Besides, the texts showed people’s fond towards noodles through describing eating noodles as a pleasurable process. In the poem by Hong Junju, “a smile would come to lips” after people had noodles, and in my piece, “a fullness would come to the heart” after eating. Noodles is not only a food for nourishment, but people would get happiness through eating.

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